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Full text of "Omni Magazine (November 1991)"

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NOVEMBER 1991 





EDITOR IN CHIEF & DESIGN DIRECTOR: BOB GUCCIONE 




PRESIDENT: KATHY KEETON 






EDITOR: KEITH FERRELL 






GRAPHICS DIRECTOR: FRANK DEVINO 






MANAGING EDITOR: PHIL SCOTT 






ART DIRECTOR: DWAYNE FLINCHUM 




10 




24 


First Word 




Tools 


By Martin Sheen 




By Sandy Fritz 


The actor 


•- — W ^^( 


Popcorn's informational 


journeys to Rome to ask 


#e«M 4H 


kernels; 


the Church to 




past-life cards; and more. 


intervene in the Gulf War. 


■.. 


27 


12 


a 


Artificial Intelligence 


Omnibus 




By Joan Griffiths 


The Who's Who 




Designing a computer for 


of contributing authors 


c ><^ 


a gorilla 


14 


can drive you ape. 


Communications 


W >. 


28 


Readers' writes 


Political Science 


18 




By Tom Dworetzky 




Bush's education vouchers 


Books 




would allow 


By Robert K. J. Killheffer 




parents to use government 


The events in a 




money to 


new novel eerily parallel 


HH\i - mmk 


send their kids to private 


the recent 




school. 


Soviet upheaval. 


JK'r ■ .. B 


30 


20 


( ' 


Transportation 


Wheels 


By Martin Caidin 


By Mark Fischetti 


tiafr^Sfc- 


A new NASA spacecraft 


Get a charge out of 




looks a lot like 


driving with 




a project canceled 30 


GM's electric cars. 




years ago. 


22 


The need to explore pushes man into uncharted territory 


32 


Space 


seeking answers and new questions, as the 


Animals 


By James Oberg 


cover by Chris Moore (Artbank/London) reminds us. The 


By Jessica S peart 


Will the failed coup kill 


Soviet Union led the world into space, but 


A state-of-the-art forensics 


or revive the 


August's failed coup may ground its space program. 


lab doggedly 


Soviet space program? 


(Additional art and photo credits, page 67) 


tracks down poachers. 



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33 

Continuum 

Fore! Now you can play 

golf without the 
hazards of rain, lightning, 

■ or lost balls; 

racing pigeons that can't 

find their 

way home; and more. 

40 

Cruising the Eclipse 

By Frederik Pohl 

There goes the sun: 

Science 

devotees booked passage 

on a cruise 

ship to get a good look at 

the decade's 

best solar eclipse. 

50 

The Light Stuff 

By Beth Howard 

After nine 

years of waiting, work, 

and more 
waiting, an engineering 

professor's 

experiment, sponsored 

by Omni, 

finally made it into space. 

56 

Fiction: Skinner's Room 

By William Gibson 
San Francisco's outcasts 

have made 

the Bay Bridge their 

home. One 

of the first to claim the 

bridge, Skinner 

now sits atop it, nursed 

by a young 

girl who has never known a 

different world. 




70 

Interview 

By John Stein 

Nautical archaeologist 



93 

World of Electronic Games 
Special Section 

Dateline: 1999. After a hard day at work, you plop down in 

front of the TV to unwind. But instead 
of watching a witless sitcom, you're playing a startlingly re- 
alistic video game or a game of one-on-one 
basketball. You switch to an equally strenuous mental 
exercise— manipulating a politics campaign. 
You finish the evening by joining Christopher Columbus on 

his historic voyage. A computer provides all 
these experiences; it's not just for spreadsheets anymore. 



discoveries have rewritten 
history books. 

78 

Fiction: Vampire State 

By W. E. Gutman 

What could happen if we 

continue to 

ignore street children? 

105 

Antimatter 

Giving it all up for UFOs; 

monster rat 
visits France; and more. 

118 

Star Tech 

Techno-tools of tomorrow 

122 

Electronic Universe 

By Gregg Keizer 

Two fun 

programs give you 

close-ups 

of the planets and the 

weather. 

128 

Games 
By Scot Morris 

A 3-D 
message, sans glasses. 

136 

Last Word 

By Robert Bixby 

Get ready 
for the latest ecological 

problems. 



81 

Suffer the Children 

By W. E. Gutman 
Hundreds of children wander the hostile streets of Guate- 
mala, stealing, begging, and selling their young 
but no longer innocent bodies. And they are dying and 

disappearing at an alarming rate, unspeakably 
tortured by those entrusted to protect them; the police. 



FIRST IAJDRD 



ORDER IN THE COURT: 

"And nation shall not lift up sword against nation" 

By Martin Sheen 



Mother Teresa 

was largely 

responsible for 

my returning 

to the Catholic 

faith, and 

now perhaps this 

tunity to thank her 
personally. 




Monday, February 25, 6:00 p.m.', 
JFK International Airport. Flight 
111 for Geneva departs at 7:30, 
giving me ample time to reexam- 
ine what I am doing and recon- 
sider going on a "peace pilgrim- 
age" with Joe Cosgrove, a brilliant 
and dedicated public defender. 

Joe's plan was simple: We 
would go to Rome, meet Mother 
Teresa, and ask her to present his 
legal brief to the Pope, who, in 
turn, would approach the World 
Court and demand an immediate 
cease-fire in the Gulf. Wishful think- 
ing? Pure nonsense? Perhaps an 
equal measure of both. 

6:45 p.m. I am now firmly re- 
solved to tell Joe of my intention 
to withdraw from the sophomoric 
misadventure. After listening pa- 
tiently to me, he asks, "How can 
we determine what's in store for 
us before we even take the first 
step?" I have to agree: More of- 
ten than not, it was the unplanned 
journey that proved more fruitful 
and more rewarding. I have 
been moved by the Spirit to join 
this peace pilgrimage, and I de- 
cide to trust that Spirit. We are pil- 
grims — not diplomats— and we 
must surrender to what lies in 
store for us and stop trying to de- 
■ termine the work of grace. 



Tuesday, February 26, 5:00 
p.m. (Rome time). Joe and I made 
our way up the Piazza San Gre- 
gorio to the residence of the Mis- 
sionaries of Charity and rang the 
bell. Mo sooner had we begun to 
settle in than a tiny sister ap- 
peared smiling in the doorway. It 
was Mother Teresa oi Calcutta! I 
was astonished at her size. Not tall- 
er than five feet, she could not 
have weighed more than 90 
pounds, yet I had never in my life 
experienced a more powerful pres- 
ence. She was simply overwhelm- 
ing and overwhelmingly simple, 
which made her completely dis- 
arming. As we rose to greet her, 
she took our hands in hers and 
gave us each a blessing. 

"Now, what can I do for you?" 
she asked. Joe said that he had 
been moved by the Spirit to draw 
up a legal petition for the World 
Court in The Hague, to sue for a 
cease-fire in the Gulf; that he need- 
ed to present this brief on behalf 
of a state, since the World Court 
does not acknowledge individu- 
als as litigants. "I never heard of 
a World Court," Mother Teresa 
said. Explaining that it had been 
founded when the UN charter had 
been ratified, Joe gave the brief 
to Mother in an envelope ad- 
dressed to Pope John Paul II. 

After a reflective pause, Moth- 
er Teresa said, "You know both 
Saddam Hussein and Mr. Bush 
have ignored the Holy Father's 
plea to end the war. I also wrote 
to both of them, but neither one 
of them responded." She told us 
she had considered going to 
Baghdad to see Saddam. ''What 
good could I do?" she asked. 
What good? I thought, recalling 
how she had caused an immedi- 
ate cease-fire during the civil war 
in Lebanon simply by her pres- 
ence in Beirut, Mother Teresa fi- 
_ nally said, "I'm going to see the 
Holy Father tomorrow, and I will 
give it to him then." Relieved and 



talked to each other 
for another forty-five minutes — 
like three old friends, 

Wednesday, February 27. After 
meeting with Mother Teresa, the 
Pontiff, as part of his regular mid- 
week general audience, issued a 
strong statement against the hor- 
rors of the war in the Gulf. 

Thursday, February 28, 6:00 
a.m., Missionaries of Charity Chap- 
el. On Mother Teresa's invitation, 
we returned for a Mass of celebra- 
tion. Earlier that morning the 
news of a cease-fire in the Gulf 
had reached us in Rome. 

Was there any meaning in our 
journey? Did it have any impact 
on the course of the war and the 
beginning of peace? Who can 
say? In his traditional Urbi et Orbi 
speech given on Easter Sunday, 
Pope John Paul II was vehement 
in his criticism of the Gulf War. He 
repeated the moral chastisement 
that he had used since the war's 
beginning, but in an unusual mo- 
ment, the Pope also called the 
war a "violation of international 
law." To place a secular label on 
this terrible event was a dramatic 
move by the Holy Father. Was it 
coincidence that the brief Mother 
had given to the Pope on our be- 
half outlined the illegality of the 
war based on "international law? 
Perhaps. A letter, dated three 
days after Mother Teresa's meet- 
ing with the Holy Father, and writ- 
ten by the Vatican secretary of 
state, thanked Joe on behalf of 
the Pontiff for the information giv- 
en to him. In its final paragraph, 
the letter bestowed the Pope's ap- 
ostolic blessing on us. A fair re- 
ward for our humble effort, remind- 
ing us once again what Daniel Ber- 
rigan has always taught: Our 
work for essential human needs 
seeks not results but instead has 
its remuneration in the goodness, 
the Tightness of the work itself. 
And that is a blessing of apostol- 
ic proportion. DQ 



ormruiBus 



WRITES OF PASSAGE: 

Our writers leave the comfort of home to see" the world 

through prose-colored glasses 



much of our learning is 
a secondhand story, 
remotely controlled 
and ready-made. Press a button 
and circle the globe in 30 min- 
utes — without leaving your favor- 
ite chair. But where does all the 
information come from? Who col- 
lects it? A breed of intensely cur- 
ious people, the activists of knowl- 
edge, the doers and diggers, are 
driven out exploring by a need to 
see the world firsthand. In this 
month's Omni our writers chase 
the sun and moon, burrow the 
ocean floor, and send ideas into 




Clockwise from 

bottom: 

Beth Howard, 

Robert Killheffer, 

James Oberg, 

and John Stein. 




orbit, shifting standpoints to offer 
new views ot the earth — and 
make waves in the growing knowl- 
edge pool. 

Frederik Pohl ("Cruising the 
Eclipse," page 40) calls it sci- 
ence chasing. "I've taken four big 
trips this year: Africa, France, Chi- 
na, and most recently, Hawaii," 
Pohl says. "Science is my favor- 
ite spectator sport and I don't al- 
ways need to go far to find it. The 
best spots are within thirty miles 
of my home." Author of Gateway 
and The Space Merchants, Pohl 
hits bookstores again this 
month, collaborating with Isaac 
Asimov on the environment, in 
Our Angry Earth (Tor Books). 

With statues tumbling and 
states altered daily in the former 
Soviet Union, what is the future of 
the space program? Omni con- 
tributor James Oberg (Space, 
page 22), flew twice to Baikonur, 
the Soviet "space city," which re- 
sulted in the PBS Nova special 
"Russian Right Stuff" and an Om- 
m feature article (October 1990). 
"To actually see what I had 
been studying for thirty years 
seemed an unending series of de- 
lights," Oberg says. In addition to 
his day job at NASA Mission Con- 
trol in Houston, he writes and lec- 
tures frequently when he's not 
back at the ranch in rural Gal- 
veston County, Texas. 

More down to Earth — tragical- 
ly — "Suffer the Children" (page 
81) is the result of Omni president 
Kathy Keeton's longstanding in- 
terest in and concern for the fu- 
ture of our children, on both a glob- 
al and a local level. To further 
explore this troubling subject, inter- 
national editor W. E. Gutman em- 
barked on an eye-widening trip to 
Guatemala. Reflecting on his sev- 
en-day, 24-hour vigil with the coun- 
try's street children, Gutman 
says, "These issues affect the fu- 
ture in human rather than tech- 
nological ways and will do so in- 



definitely unless we make chang- 
es now." For more than three 
months prior to his trek, he 
pored over horrifying statistics 
compiled on the street children. 
"But nothing could prepare you 
for what you see in Guatemala." 

Deciding to delve full fathom in- 
to the ocean to hunt for buried 
treasure, Omni called John Stein 
("Interview," page 70). An inter- 
national banker by day, he was 
thrilled at the opportunity to return 
to an old fascination: the sea. "I 
haven't had the time for scuba div- 
ing recently, but I've been follow- 
ing the work of George Bass for 
years," Stein says. As the father 
of underwater archaeology, "a bar 
of gold doesn't excite Bass," Stein 
says. 'The wealth of his excavation 
lies in its power to change history." 

While exploration's rewards are 
obvious, it requires persistence. 
This is what most impressed as- 
sociate editor Beth Howard in her 
dealings with Duke University pro- 
fessor Franklin H. Cocks ("The 
Light Stuff," page 70). "This had 
been in the works for many 
years," Howard says of the Omni 
Get Away Special. "It was so ex- 
citing for Cocks to have his inven- 
tion actually go into space, but he 
had to endure many roadblocks. 
There were innumerable delays — 
three in the last month alone." 

Editorial assistant Robert Killhef- 
fer (Books, page 18), chose to re- 
view Norman Spinrad's novel Rus- 
sian Spring (Bantam) because it so 
closely — and uncannily — mirrored 
the reality of recent events in the So- 
viet Union. "Spinrad traveled all 
over Europe and into Russia to re- 
search this book. His experience 
lends an immediacy to the novel 
that it wouldn't otherwise have 
had," says Killheffer. A writer for 
Publishers Weekty as well as the 
managing editor of The New York 
Review of Science Fiction, he is al- 
so a piggish collector of porcine 
chatchkas. DO 




UNDISCZOVEFIEE1 CZCILIIMTR - 







connnnufuiCATOfus 

THE WORD ACCORDING TO OUR READERS: 

Taking issue with' statistics and beliefs, getting to the heart 

of the matter, and finding the original Omega 



- ■■. : . :.--■■ 





Rash Belief 

Father Andrew Greeley [First Word, Au- 
gust 1991] may be correct that people's 
religious beliefs have not changed 
much in the last 60 years. But his opin- 
ion that journalists and academics 
"have... drifted away from their religious 
origins" is a rash statement at best. Per- 
haps because they have traditionally 
been our foremost advocates of free- 
dom of thought, action, and belief, 
they find those ideals more divinely in- 
spired than chauvinism, self-righteous- 
ness, intolerance, and dogmatism. 

Audrey N, Glickman 
Pittsburgh 

I Am the Keymaster 

According to "The Mind of God" [Au- 
gust], neuroscientist Michael Persinger 
"doesn't believe the answers [in the 
search for God] lie in the cosmos, but 
in the human brain." Actually, God did 
first try hiding the key to his existence 
in the cosmos. In fact, he tried one 
spot after another, but no matter 
where in the universe he tried, human 
beings somehow managed to find it. Fi- 
nally, he came up with the perfect spot 
and hid the key in the human heart be- 
cause he knew that was the one place 
no one would look. 

David Siskin 
New York City 

Faith No More 

I agree with Murray Cox [Forum, Au- 
gust] but object to Andrew Greeley's 
opinions [First Word]. From my own 
personal experience, coupled with the 
historical reality of such events as the 
Inquisition and the Holocaust, I cannot 
place faith in some benign and all- 
powerful force that could possibly allow 
atrocities committed against beings sup- 
posedly created in his own image. 
Must we meekly accept the existence 
of God because statistics indicate 
nine out of ten people pray in a week 
or because 95 out of 100 individuals be- 
lieve in God? I don't think so. 

Katherine Ann Nelson 

American Humanist Association 

Amherst, MA 



Born-again Candidate 
Your August issue is an enlightened mas- 
terpiece. I would only suggest that per- 
haps the spirit of God will flow among 
us more readily if we minimize precon- 
ceptions. Thus, Murray Cox's statement 
"All religions presuppose the existence 
of God" [Forum] assumes there is no 
institutionalized open-ended religious 
search for truth and meaning. Unitari- 
an Universalism, however, is such an en- 
terprise for which he is a likely candi- 
date. I also would assume that not 
everyone who reads the Morris Berman 
interview will "hear the protestation." All 
I hear are bells. 

Carol Benson Hoist 

Director of Religious Education 

Unitarian Universalist Society 

Verdugo Hills, CA 

Growing Pains 

Until reading the August Interview with 
Morris Berman, I thought the tendency 
to move to a horizontal axis was part of 
growing up. I now understand that it is, 
in part, an act of spiritual desperation. 
While I don't have any answers either, 
I appreciate the questions and agree it 
is better to know than not know. 

Eleanor Roberts 
Owensboro, KY 

Point Taken 

"The Mind of God" reminded me of a 
book titled The Phenomenon of Man 
(Harper and Row, 1959), in which au- 
thor Teilhard de Chardin developed a 
thesis similar to Frank Tipler's. He even 
called it "The Omega Point." I suggest 
that Tipler's theory actually originated 
with De Chardin. 

Shaun Q. McMahon 
Westwood, KS 

Frank Tipler replies: Teilhard had the 
right idea about the Omega Point but 
tacked the calculations to solve the 
problems. We were both struggling 
with the same questions concerning fu- 
ture human evolution, but I have the 
advantage of 30 years of new science 
and theory. My theory is his theory 
done right. OO 



BOOKS 



TO RUSSIA WITH LOVE: 

A science-fiction writer inadvertently turns soothsayer 

By Robert K. J. Killheffer 



Spinrad's novel 

foretells the 

breakup of the 

Soviet Union 

and offers hope 

for the future. 



It sounds like something out of 
recent headlines: A moderate 
Soviet president struggles to 
hold his country together as the 
republics declare independence 
and militant old guard hard-liners 
grumble; tanks roll through Mos- 
cow streets, and a coup led by 
Soviet Army commanders places 
the president under arrest, de- 
claring martial law. ... But this is 
not a front-page New York Times 
story. It's a pivotal scene from Nor- 
man Spinrad's latest novel, Rus- 
sian Spring (Bantam, $22.50), pub- 
lished in September and written 
long before the abortive August 
coup against Mikhail Gorbachev. 
Spinrad began writing Russian 
Spring in 1988 and as the novel 
progressed he found his fictional 
prophecies fulfilled again and 




again, forcing him to redraft his 
book. "This novel went through 
many drafts," Spinrad recalls, "be- 
cause when I started writing it 
events such as the German uni- 
fication seemed far in the future, 
but as I wrote, most of the things 
I had been thinking of started to 
come-true." 

Science-fiction writers some- 
times try to predict the future, at 
least in general terms, as they ex- 
trapolate from current events and 
perceived trends to create a pos- 
sible future world. But rarely 
does science fiction parallel real 
events as closely as Spinrad's 
plot mirrors reality. Still, recent 
events don't mitigate the novel's 
impact. "If I had another draft to 
do, I would have written the 
coup attempt in," says Spinrad. 
"In the final draft I do refer to a 
'Time of Troubles,' vaguely. I 
think events validate the book." 

But there is much more to Rus- 
sian Spring than an eerie forecast- 
ing of current events. The novel 
centers on Jerry Reed, an expa- 
triate American living in Paris, 
who fled an increasingly reaction- 
ary, repressive, and militaristic 
United States to work with the 
European Space Agency in the 
semi-unified Common Europe. 
Through Reed's story, Spinrad 
blasts America's failure to pursue 
its early success in space and criti- 
cizes the ongoing militarization of 
our space program. 

Alongside Reed's story is the 
tale-pf his two children, illuminat- 
ing the larger issues of world pol- 
itics. Bobby Reed inherits a vision 
of an idealistic, enlightened Amer- 
ica from his father and he ven- 
tures into the benighted United 
States in an attempt to find and 
rekindle that spirit. Jerry's wife, So- 
nya, is a career Soviet bureau- 
crat, and their daughter, Franja, 
absorbs her mother's love of and 
faith in the newly expansive So- 
viet system, enrolling in the Soviet 



space program. Following the 
Reed children's opposite but con- 
verging paths, Spinrad examines 
the forces shaping both America 
and Russia today, pointing out 
the good and bad of each and 
hinting at ways for the world to 
tap the best of both systems, 

In the end, Russian Spring is 
about living for a dream. For 
Reed, it is the hope of space trav- 
el, for himself and for humanity at 
large; for Bobby, it is the vision 
of an America restored to its 
place as a champion of freedom 
and progressive values; for 
Franja, it is the chance for Rus- 
sia to emerge from centuries of 
backwardness as a leader of 
equal standing in the advance- 
ment of human culture. Spinrad's 
vision strikes to the heart of our 
world's current morass. His desire 
to slip the shackles of history, 
abandon our inherited biases, 
grudges, pettiness, and most of 
all, inertia, and start anew to 
build a world in which our best 
qualities are accented is exactly 
what we need now. Spinrad 
gives his readers a worthy goal 
toward which to work. 

As we confront the changing 
face of our relationship with the 
Russians, making vital decisions 
about aid, alliance, trust, and trea- 
ties, Spinrad's positive outlook 
might make all the difference. 
Some readers, who know Spinrad 
from his previous science-fiction 
books, may feel that Russian 
Spring is not a science-fiction nov- 
el at all because of its clear roots 
in contemporary events. But Rus- 
sian Spring, using the techniques 
of future extrapolation to com- 
ment so movingly on our current 
world situation, does what sci- 
ence fiction and only science fic- 
tion can do: It shows us where we 
might be headed and offers 
thoughts on how we can make 
the best possible real future with 
the tools we have. CXI 



UUHEELS 



A SHOCK TO THE SYSTEM: 

GM's electric car will soon be on the streets " 

By Mark Fischetti 



Wailing for 
Detroit: Small 
firms have 
beaten General 
Motors to 
the streets with 
their own 
electric cars, like 
Florida-based 
Sebring Auto- 
Cycle's Zzipper, 
which 
sells for 59,000. 



■ ou've got to run to the 
^B^J m 3ll, so you pull the plug 
I from the electric outlet in 
your garage, yank the cord so it 
retracts into the back of your car, 
get behind the wheel, and put the 
vehicle in gear. You turn out of 
your driveway and zoom up the 
street, your electric car making 
about as much noise as an elec- 
tric razor. 

Such a scenario moved a giant 
step closer to reality when Gen- 
eral Motors recently announced 
it would be the first major auto man- 
ufacturer to mass-produce an elec- 
tric car. Production will begin in 
several years at a plant capable 
of turning out 25,000 vehicles a 
year. GM will market the vehicle 
as a second family car, based on 
a 2,200-pound, two-seater proto- 
type called the Impact. 

Clean-air legislation, not rising 
gas prices, has provided the stim- 
ulus to produce electric cars af- 
ter similar efforts failed in the Sev- 
enties. New California legislation 
requires that, by 1998, vehicles 
without tail pipe emissions consti- 
tute 2 percent of each auto- 
maker's fleet sold within the 
state. By 2003 that figure must 
rise to 10 percent, or more than 



200,000 cars annually. Massachu- 
setts and New York recently adopt- 
ed similar rules. 

The electric car that is GM's re- 
sponse to the new laws will have 
a maximum range of 120 miles 
and a top speed of 75 miles per 
hour. But the vehicle is no souped- 
up golf cart: It will roar from to 
60 mph in a startling eight sec- 
onds. Made from strong, light- 
weight aluminum and plastic, it 
sports a sleek shape that makes 
it 33 percent more resistant than 
any standard car to the dragging 
effect created by air passing over 
the car body at high speeds. Al- 
so, its specially designed tires 
roll twice as easily as those 
made of conventional rubber and 
weigh only 12.5 pounds each. 

All these improvements will 
come at a price. While GM won't 
comment on what the production 
model might cost, auto analysts 
estimate the price at between 
$20,000 and $30,000. "We can't 
build some glory car that's too ex- 
pensive for anyone to buy," says 
spokeswoman Toni Simonetti. 
"But the car has got to perform 
like a regular car or consumers 
won't buy it." 

Despite the hefty initial ex- 




pense, electric cars have many 
long-range benefits, both econom- 
ic and environmental. Because 
they don't use fossil fuels, the 
cars themselves create no air pol- 
lution. They will produce some in- 
direct emissions, however, as pow- 
er plants generate the additional 
electricity needed to recharge the 
cars. Taking these increased pow- 
er-plant emissions into account, 
some studies show that electric 
cars will still produce, per mile, 98 
percent less carbon monoxide 
and nitrous oxides, 25 percent 
less carbon dioxide, and about 
the same amount of sulfur as 
conventional cars. 

Electric cars don't cost much 
to maintain because there's no 
need for oil changes or tune-ups, 
no radiators to fill, and no filters 
or spark plugs to replace. Recharg- 
ing the battery pack takes from 
two hours to eight hours and 
costs about half as much as a com- 
parable amount of gasoline. Over 
100,000 miles, an electric car 
winds up costing at least $5,000 
less than a gas guzzler, including 
the cost of replacing the £1,500 
battery pack every 20,000 miles. 

Those batteries present elec- 
tric cars' only serious environmen- 
tal problem. Replacing the GM pro- 
totype's 32 ten-volt lead-acid bat- 
teries, similar to a typical car bat- 
tery, every couple of years will cre- 
ate a huge increase in toxic lead 
waste. Each year, car owners al- 
ready dump some 20 million 
dead batteries, each containing 
roughly 18 pounds of lead. To 
help remedy the problem, lead- 
recycling legislation has been in- 
troduced before Congress. With 
tougher pollution laws and increas- 
ing environmental awareness spur- 
ring the refinement and produc- 
tion of electric cars, the historic 
New Year's Eve of 2000 could 
very well find celebrators driving 
to parties in whirring cars with wall- 
socket plugs. DO 



THE POSTCOUP BLUES: 

The future of the Soviet space program looks" more uncertain than ever 

By James Oberg 



No room 

on the racket: 

Cosmonaut 

Sergey Krikalev 

must wait 

until the next 



The ultimate nightmare of 
space travel is being 
stranded in space due 
to a mechanical, medical, or or- 
bital dynamics problem. But 
when the first spaceman actually 
became '"stranded" this year, the 
cause was entirely terrestrial: His 
country had run out of money. 

Sergey Krikalev is the flight en- 
gineer aboard the Mir space sta- 
tion. When he kissed his new 
wife good-bye last May before 
blasting off for Mir, he expected 
to see her again in October, 
when he and his mission com- 
mander would be relieved by 
the next crew. 

Each relief launch is subsi- 
dized by a foreign guest ' 



stay in space until March, when 
the next relief mission arrives. 

The cosmonaut's predicament 
resulted directly from the ongoing 
political and economic crisis in 
the former USSR. With the col- 
lapse of the Soviet economy, "lux- 
ury" items such as space explor- 
ation have become prime targets 
for cutbacks. The public mood 
has swung solidly against "space 
extravaganzas" at a time when 
basic consumer goods, such as 
razors, soap, even medicine and 
food, are scarce. 

While still a maverick populist, 
Boris Yeltsin campaigned for 
election on a reformist platform 
that includ- 
ed major cut- 




Soyuz rocket 

arrives in March 

to end his 

ten-month stay 

at the Mir 

space station. 



cosmonaut, who pays dearly in 
hard currency to spend a few 
days at Mir. Even so, Soviet 

space planners realized by mid- 
summer thai they couldn't pay for 
a planned November flight, 
which would carry a guest from 
the Kazakh republic — the home 
of the Baikonur space, center — 
to appease independence-mind- 
ed officials there. 

So the two launches were com- 
bined into one carrying a cosmo- 
naut to relieve Krikalev's com- 
mander, an Austrian, and a Ka- 
zakh guest. Thus the seat intend.- 
ed for Krikalev's replacement was 
■occupied, and he was "asked" to 



backs in space exploration, 
Once elected president of the Rus- 
sian republic, he favored only 
space projects with clear-cut 
earthside applications. 

Similarly, Soviet president 
Mikhail Gorbachev, as early as 
1987, ordered space officials to 
cut back on exploration and re- 
search. He also cut the space 
budget 10 percent per year for 
three years in a row. 

The political upheavals in Au- 
gust enhanced the power of 
many of the Yeltsin antispace of- 
ficials, Furthermore, several coup 
leaders, such as Oleg D. Bakia- 
nov and Vitaly K. Doguzhiyev, 



held influential positions in the 
rocket industry. The houseclean- 
ing that followed the failed coup 
attempt saw the resignation of oth- 
er officials in the space and mis- 
sile industry, such as Oleg Shish- 
kin, head of the aerospace min- 
islry, who had toured NASA 
space facilities only a month be- 
fore. Space officials feared the 
worst, perhaps even the cancel- 
lation of the Buran shuttle and the 
shutdown of Mir 

However, the defeat of the mil- 
itary plotters also indicates that 
the worst may be over. Massive 
cuts may now at last be possible 
in the armaments industry, 
whose hard-line officials had resist- 
ed earlier budget-trimming at- 
tempts. .With those officials 
gone, their pet projects are fall- 
ing under the budget ax. Space 
funding, especially for applica- 
tions programs, could be spared 
further reductions due to the sud- 
den vulnerability of the much juic- 
ier military budget. 

Meanwhile, cosmonaut Krika- 
lev remains in orbit, stranded by 
the collapse of the program that 
launched him. The Mir. Earth's 
first_multimodular space station, 
remains unfinished, its oldest sec- 
tions already wearing out before 
the final sections can be 
launched. Housekeeping and re- 
pair chores occupy nearly all of 
the crew's time. 

Yet the cosmonauts grimly 
hold on. Abandoning Mir now, 
even temporarily, could bring 
about the end of the cosmonaut 
program for years. The Soviets 
once billed Mr as a beachhead 
into the universe, a "highway to 
the cosmos." But for Sergey Kri- 
kalev and his colleagues, it has 
become a last-ditch stand, their 
one remaining chance to pre- 
serve a space presence until — 
somehow, someday — their socie- 
ty can once again commit to 
reaching toward space. DQ 



NOU) HEAR THIS! 

METLIFE MAS 
MUTUAL FUNPS. 




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And professional money management. And liquidity. And you can pick the funds that 

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TDDL5 



FOR THE TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY: 

Manipulating consumers, new sounds, past lives, and sweetening your home 

By Sandy Fritz 




THE POPCORN REPORT. 

Faith Popcorn. Doubleday Curren- 
cy, 1991. $22.50 
PIUSES: Good ideas. 
MINUSES; Arrogant. 
THE VERDICT: Mesmerizing. 

The "Nostradamus of Market- 
ing" (one assessment of Ms. Pop- 
corn) uses elementary psycholo- 
gy, anthropology, and sociology 
to gaze into the future of Ameri- 
can culture. Then she advises Big 



Companies how to position their 
products to make profits. 

The ten future consumer 
trends defined by Popcorn are per- 
suasively argued but marred by 
the imperative voice. Despite the 
book's silky delivery and probing 
inquiry, it's clear that Popcorn and 
her customers will spare no effort 
to promote and sell their prod- 
ucts. This is science in the service 
of marketing. 

DAT: THE COMPLETE 
GUIDE TO DIGITAL 
AUDIO TAPE. 

Delton T Horn. Tab Books, 1991 . 

PLUSES: Illuminating. 
MINUSES: A little too bright 

at times. 

THE VERDICTj Technical. 

"Scat," said America's music 
industry to DAT. Why? A single 

DAT can be copied without de- 



THE 

Susai 



PHOENIX CARDS. 

i Sheppard. Reincarnation 
>.■ Destiny Books, One. 
■Street, Rochester, ■' VT 
; . 1991. S25.95 




Unconventional. 
MBSWSiSs A questionable 
premise. 
TME VEKDICts Clean fun. 

A ca'Tl-ar-ci-Soo.K combo thai 
cJaimsto "read and interpret 
your pasMifs influences" may 
;■■"'■ d ayebrciws. but it's re-' 
ally gooc clean run. You select, 
from a deck of 28 faceup cards 
seven images that appeal to- 
yen, Then you consult the accom- 
panying guice (or iruerprelaiiori. 
According to Sheppard, the- 
images you se:eci hint at -past 
li- ■ ■ ■.■■; i:i i i r-iKing some 
time to bone up. on your past 
because they may be- 
come- -in the ■ Nineties- 
what' astrology was. in 
"' e Seventies, rein- 
carratrg 'What's 



grading the sound quality, open- 
ing the doors, some say, for large- 
scale pirating operations. 

Last July a royalty agreement 
was reached between DAT man- 
ufacturers and music companies, 
so equipment and tapes should 
appear soon. This book covers ev- 
ery aspect of human perception 
of sound and technical advances 
in equipment and explains how 
the new technology works. 



fSAFEKHOME 
r TEST NT J 




SAFER HOME TEST KIT. 

DSK, 325 North Oakhurst Drive, 

Suite 404, Beverly Hills. CA 

90210. £59.95 

PB-WSES: You can finally take 

control... 

MINUSES: ...but try hard not 

to overreact 

THE VERDICT: Utilitarian. 



s oven test in 
this kit revealed slight leaks from 
the microwave here at Omni. Now 
staffers can be seen darting out 
of the room when they microwave 
their potatoes. 

Our water is lead-free, and 
since-most of us sit in windowless 
cubicles, the ultraviolet ray alert 
system was unnecessary. These 
tests, and two others for radon con- 
centration and carbon monoxide, 
are extremely simple to use, but, 
unfortunately, we are unable to ver- 
ify their accuracy; the guide also 
provides easy-to-follow tips for tak- 
ing care of the problems. DQ 



ARTIFICIAL 
inJTELUEEfUCE 



GORILLA MY DREAMS: 

Designing an ape's computer poses unexpected challenges 

By Joan Griffiths 



For her recent birthday, 
Koko the lowland gorilla 
asked for a voice. Be- 
cause Koko is no ordinary gorilla, 
her wish will soon be granted, 
though fulfilling it took much 
more time, effort, and ingenuity 
than expected. 

Koko signs at least 600 words 
in American Sign Language (ASL) 
and understands more than 1 ,000 
spoken words. Everyone around 
her talks all the time, and her in- 
ability to make human sounds frus- 
trates her. 

Fortunately, Koko sits on the ad- 
visory board of Apple Computer's 
Vivarium Program, an ambitious 
effort to understand the nature of 
intelligence. Several Apple scien- 
tists agreed to design a special 
Macintosh, complete with voice, 
for Koko. 

A daunting task lay before 
them: designing a computer that 
is safe for a gorilla as well as safe 
from a gorilla. During her excited 
moments, 260-pound Koko ca- 
reers about her room at 20 miles 
an hour and exerts about 2,000 
pounds of concentrated force, the 
equivalent of a ten-pound shot trav- 
eling at 100 miles an hour, 

Before beginning work, the Ap- 
ple computer scientists met with 
Koko to tell her about the project 
and to help her pick out a voice. 
As might be expected when talk- 
ing with a gorilla who not only un- 
derstands human speech but al- 
so continues the conversation, a 
few misunderstandings occurred. 
For example, software engineer 
Larry Yaeger told Koko he and his 
associates were from Apple. Be- 
cause the fruit is her favorite 
treat, she enthusiastically exam- 
ined each person's briefcase or 
bag, looking for apples. 

Earlier, four women had record- 
ed three sentences, which were 
then digitized into a HyperCard 
stack. One of the voices belonged 
to a woman Koko knew, leading 



her to sign, "Ivle girl know." Asked 
several times in different ways 
about an unfamiliar voice, she de- 
clared, "Rotten." She made no neg- 
ative comments upon listening to 
her final choice and several times 
signed self-referentially, "Goriila 
myself good." 

Designing a computer to house 
Koko's new voice proved more 
difficult. To absorb the gorilla's 
strength, hardware engineer Tom 
Ferrara used solid aluminum for 
the inner structure and a polycar- 
bonate sheet for the cover. The 
unit sits just 29 inches above the 
floor (to which it's bolted), a com- 
fortable height for a gorilla who 
hunkers on the ground. The de- 
signers placed the ventilation 
slots in the rear to direct foreign 
materials that Koko might depos- 
it, such as bananas or toys, away 
from the CPU, which has eight 
megabytes of memory and a 40- 
megabyte hard disk, 

After testing HyperCard and Su~ 
perCard, Yaeger set out to write 
a special interface, called Lingo, 
for Koko. Seventy uniformly 



shaped and spaced buttons, 
each with a full-color picture adapt- 
ed from an ASL gesture, cover the 
screen. Touching an icon acti- 
vates the corresponding word 
stored in memory. As Koko choos- 
es words, they accumulate in a 
large bar at the top of the screen, 
and when she touches it, the 
whole sentence plays. If she wish- 
es, however, the words can be 
heard immediately. 

The touch screen remains a 
stumbling block to the Apple 
designers. Working with Micro- 
Touch Systems, mechanical engi- 
neer Mike Clark produced sever- 
al optically bonded capacitive 
screens, but Koko inadvertently 
scratched them all. Gorillas walk 
on their knuckles, grinding grit 
deeply into their skin. When she 
touches the screen "it's like grind- 
ing the bottom of your shoe across 
the screen," says Ron Cohn of the 
Gorilla Foundation in Woodside, 
California, one of Koko's teachers. 
MicroTouch has developed a new 
optical guard coating that should 
do tne trick. DQ 



Koko may 
be smarter than 
your average 
gorilla, but she 
still needs 
help from care- 
taker Francine 
Patterson to 
learn to use her 
specially 
designed Apple 
Macintosh. 




POLITICAL 5C1ERJCE 

THE ABD'S OF PUBLIC EDUCATION; 

Private schools might not be better and may Well be worse 

By Tom Dworetzky 



in privatized 

schools 

only kids who 

entrance exam 

and whose 

parents can pay 

the difference 

between tuition 

and 

vouchers would 

be eligi- 



Janueri wun 2000 
Deer Mista Bussh — 
/ gradiated frum wun 
ov yur privat skools u made with 
yur Amerika 2000 plan bak in 
1991. Boy wuz it fun and did i 
lurn a lot. Thanx fur ledin ma 
foks uze tha vauchurz ta pik a 
gud skool fur me. 

Luv, 
Ronny 
Welcome the future American 
high-school graduate, courtesy of 
the education president's Ameri- 
ca 2000 school reform proposal. 
Devoluiionary SF fantasy or fact? 

The skinny on Bush's scheme: 
Private schools are better. than 
public ones, so let's privatize. The _ 
cornerstone of this allegedly free- 
market approach is to deregulate 
the educational system by giving 
parents vouchers that pay for 
their kids to attend whatever 
schools they want. The aim is to 
make all schools, public or pri- 
vate, slug it out on the "level" play- 
ing field of the marketplace. Hey, 
why not? Everyone knows that pri- 
vate schools are great and pub- 
lic ones stink, right? 

Wrong. Turns out that public 
schools do just about as well — 
or badly — as private institutions. 
Albert Shanker, president of the 
American Federation of Teach- 



ers, has "been hammering this 
point home, armed with a new 
study showing a key flaw present 
in virtually all previous research 
suggesting private schools do a 
better job: twisted statistics. 
They don't compare similar kids. 
The most important factor turns 
out to be the parents' education 
levels. Control for that, by com- 
paring kids whose parents have 
the same schooling, and you 
find no significant differences on 
National Assessment of Education- 
al Progress test scores in math be- 



tween students i 

vate schools. 

Let's assu 



l public and pri- 

the administra- 
tion knows this by now. Why, 
then, push for choice vouchers — ■ 
and the subsequent gutting of 
the public school system? Con- 
sider a few possible explanations: 
1, Public schools must by law 
teach a curriculum that contains 
politically unpopular subjects in 
these cynical and divisive times — 
topics such as desegregation, evo- 
lution, and safe sex. Private institu- 



$■»! 



teach anything they 
bloody well like. 
A corporation- 
sponsored 
school can 
teach stu- 
dents just 




enough to make them good little 
workers and nothing about the 
rights and duties of citizenship — 
like speaking out against abuses 
of power, S & L ripoffs, and acts 
of corporate malfeasance. Private 
schools can promote bogus sep- 
aratist theories. They can also be 
ripoffs, like so many vocational 
schools and diploma mills that ad- 
vertise on matchbooks. 

2. Disadvantaged, difficult stu- 
dents can be dumped by corpo- 
rate bottom-line bean counters. 
Think the companies will show a 
little heart? Know anyone laid off 
by a big company lately? This 
short-term thinking will make ed- 
ucation cost more, not less. In- 
stead of paying about $4,500 a 
year to educate a kid, we the 
taxpayers can look forward to as- 
suming the hidden cost of a gut- 
ted public system— the $25,000 
a year per kid for incarceration. 
Jail, after all, is the graduate pro- 
gram for school dropouts. 

3. Privatizing schools is part of 
an administration shell game to re- 
duce taxes temporarily. The short- 
term benefit: Get reelected. We 
will end up with thousands of me- 
diocre schools lacking any qual- 
ity assurance. The really good 
schools will be oversubscribed. 

Vouchers and' privatization will 
effectively deregulate schools, ex- 
posing once again the fallacy in 
the argument ihat free market pol- 
icies are always better. Remem- 
ber how wonderfully laissez-faire 
worked for our banking system? 
Rewarding public schools that 
show improved results is the bet- 
ter way. Vouchers and privatiza- 
tion aren't the answers; they're 
the final nail in education's coffin. 
If the President thinks this plan 
will work so well for education, 
why doesn't he let us use vouch- 
ers and choice for the whole fed- 
eral budget? In that case I could 
choose to use my vouchers for ed- 
ucation, not H-bombs. DO 



TRAfUSPORTATIOftJ 

WHAT KILLED THE DYNA-SOAR? 

This experimental spaceship was in the right place at the wrong time 

By Martin Caidin 



June 12, 1967. Search- 
lights play silently against 
a swept-winged, batlike 
machine resting atop a huge 
three-barreled Titan III booster. A 
computer rushes through its final 
seconds of countdown. The giant 
spouts flame against steel and a 
dazzling sun rises into the night 
sky. Dyna-Soar accelerates away 
from Earth riding atop a rocket 
slingshot that will hurl it into orbit 
at five miles a second. 
Well, almost. The spaceplane 



phere, like a flat stone skipped 
across water, back into orbit. As 
the program began building 
steam, Dyna-Soar begat Dyna- 
Soar II, Dyna-Soar III, and then Dy- 
na-Mows. The latter was a highly 
advanced Dyna-Soar III to be 
used as a Manned Orbital Weap- 
on System. As data poured into 
Systems Command, everyone 
wanted in on the project. Astro- 
nauts began training, launch 
sites were designated, and the Air 
Force shifted its programming to 




all over again: 
Dyna-Soars 

reeled as the 
HL-20 personnel 
launch system. 



was officially called the X-20, nick- 
named the Dyna-Soar. Dyna- 
Soar promised stunning ability in 
just about every facet of space- 
flight: a unique amalgamation of 
aircraft, missile, and spaceship 
technology, all embodied in a sin- 
gle powerful bird. But a combina- 
tion of budget cuts and the stel- 
lar success of NASA's Mercury 
space program killed the Dyna- 
Soar, putting on the back burner 
a machine that this country need- 
ed desperately 30 years ago and 
still needs today. 

When the program got under 
way in 1957, spirits soared at Air 
Force Systems Command. Stud- 
ies promised the ability of Dyna- 
Soar not only to orbit above Earth 
but also to "dive-glide" as low as 
20 miles for bombing runs and 
then "skip" or soar off the atmos- 



leap far ahead of anything the So- 
viet Union might produce. In fis- 
cal years 1961 through 1963, the 
program received $273 million for 
accelerated development. 

Then, in 1964, under "pressure 
from the top," the Department of 
Defense (DOD) canceled the 
whole ball of wax. From a brilliant 
concept well into development, Dy- 
na-Soar became as defunct as its 
predecessor, the dinosaur. 

Well, the X-20 died. But it just 
wouldn't stay dead. No sooner 
had DOD buried Dyna-Soar than 
the Air Force, with NASA cooper- 
ation, rushed to develop a huge 
aerospaceplane that would lift 
from the ground in piggyback fash- 
ion. The main booster would be 
flown back home and the upper 
winged stage, which anyone 
with even myopic vision could see 



bore uncanny resemblance to Dy- 
na-Soar, would race into space. 
Some people even called it a 
"space shuttle." Prophecy? 

But Air Force funds for the proj- 
ect dried up again, so NASA 
rushed ahead with its own 
winged piggyback designs. 
(That, too, died, eventually to re- 
surface as the delta-winged shut- 
tle, approved by Nixon in 1972.) 

Now it's 1991 and the ghost of 
Dyna-Soar has been resurrected 
in multiple forms. Seems the ini- 
tial idea was so good that France 
is developing its Hermes winged 
spaceplane, the spitting image of 
the old X-20A. Japan is hammer- 
ing out its HOPE unmanned and 
manned shuttle, another winged 
spaceplane. Meanwhile the Ger- 
mans are'planning their Sanger 
winged spaceplane project, and 
the United Kingdom looks fondly 
on its own HOTOL program. 

Every one of these designs ech- 
oes the Boeing X-20 Dyna-Soar, 
the spaceplane that refuses to 
stay dead. 

And now, nearly 30 years after 
DOD dropped the guillotine on Dy- 
na-Soar, NASA {tied in with the Air 
Force) is rushing development of 
the HL-20 personnel launch sys- 
tem. It will boost above a Titan IV 
rocket (Dyna-Soar's booster was 
the Titan III), It has a length of 30 
feet (Dyna-Soars was 35 feet), a 
wingspan of 23.5 feet (Dyna- 
Soar's was 20.4 feet), and will 
weigh 22,000 pounds (Dyna- 
Soar weighed 11,390 pounds). 
Oh yes, the HL-20 will be tested 
with airdrops from a B-52. The Dy- 
na-Soar test program called for air- 
drops from the same plane. 

So it seems that we blew sev- 
eral hundred million dollars, 
dumped more than 30 years 
down the toilet — and with a new 
name and a slightly different 
shape, Dyna-Soar is very much 
alive and kicking. A rose by any 
other name is...Dd 



AfUlfUlALS 



POACH BUSTERS: 

Who you gonna call? A Scotland Yard detective agency for animals 

By Jessica Speart 



Even as the herd of elk 
grazed peacefully on pub- 
lic lands in New Mexico, 
poachers were plotting a crime, 
finally closing in on the beasts 
and nabbing more than 100 of 
them. Loading the elk onto 
trucks, they headed for Canada 
but were stopped by federal 
agents just beyond the state line 
in Antonito, Colorado. 

Until now, law enforcement of- 
ficials would have been hard- 
pressed to prove that the elk — 
their antlers earmarked for the 
Asian black market — were not pri- 
vately owned ranch animals as 
claimed. This time, however, the 
officials shone ultraviolet lights on 
the elk's urine. To the poachers'' 
chagrin, the urine glowed, the re- 
sult of a harmless powder con- 
America's cocted by the National Fish and 
wild elk Wildlife Forensics Laboratory. 
are safe once Park officials had dispersed the 
more, powder in hay on state wildlands. 
thanks to a Only elk baited off these lands, 
special the agents reasoned, could have 
forensics lab. eaten the treated hay. 




Resulting in 20 indictments, the 
so-called Pee Glow case is one 
of the first success stories of the 
forensics lab, which is quickly earn- 
ing a reputation as the Scotland 
Yard for animals. Run by Ken God- 
dard, former director of the Hunt- 
ington Beach Crime Lab, the $4.5 
million laboratory in Ashland, Or- 
egon, is doing what 350 U.S. fo- 
rensics labs do every day: link sus- 
pect, victim, and crime with phys- 
ical evidence. But while most 
labs solve crimes involving one 
species — man — this one handles 
the rest of the animal kingdom. 
"It's like landing on a brand-new 
planet," Goddard says. 

The effort comes none too 
soon. The United States is contrib- . 
uting more than ever to the esti- 
mated $2 billion illegal world wild- 
life market. Most often the slaugh- 
tered animals make their way to 
Asia, where their parts are used 
as aphrodisiacs and as antidotes 
to ailments including cancer and 
hemorrhoids. Afresh gallbladder, 
for example, sells for around 
$500. Dried and ground, it will 
bring in $1 ,200 an ounce. Elk ant- 
lers, believed to be most potent 
when they're "in velvet," en- 
gorged with blood, fetch up to 
$400 an ounce. 

Indeed, the lab itself attests to 
the grisly carnage. A mutilated ti- 
ger's head, severed bear paws, 
and bags of crushed tiger bone 
and ivory shavings are just a few 
of the specimens in this little 
shop of beastly horrors. 

Armed with the latest technol- 
ogy, the lab has taken on the 
poachers with a passion, using a 
multidisciplinary approach. The sci- 
entists start with morphology, mak- 
ing identifications by comparing 
features like fur, hides, feathers, 
or claws of confiscated animals 
with herd samples. 

When a species can't be iden- 
tified this way, muscle, blood, tis- 
sue, and soft organs go to the se- 



rology lab, where researchers per- 
form electrophoresis, or protein 
separation. Inserted in a gel and 
subjected to a 200-volt electric 
shock, proteins bend in patterns 
that can be compared with sam- 
ples to determine the species. 

A new technique called a poly- 
merase chain reaction also allows 
scientists to read the genetic 
code in DNA samples. If deer 
meat, for example, is found in a 
freezer in Miami, DNA fingerprint- 
ing can link the meal to a herd in 
Yellowstone. The smallest sample 
of blood or tissue, even if found 
on a hunter's shirt, will provide a 
positive identification. And unlike 
cruder techniques, DNA evi- 
dence is indisputable in court. 

The area of criminalization, how- 
ever, has presented the lab with 
its primary challenges — and break- 
throughs. A $250,000 scanning 
electron microscope and a 250 
protractor helped to break the 
back of the illegal ivory trade 
when forensic scientists Ed Espi- 
noza and Mary-Jacque Mann 
used them to differentiate be- 
tween mammoth ivory, which can 
be bought and sold legally, and 
elephant ivory, which cannot be 
traded. Both ivories have what are 
called Schreger lines that differ 
according to the'species. And the 
research team is close to being 
able to determine the ivories' age 
through protein degradation. 

Meanwhile researchers have 
high hopes for another high-tech 
tool, the gas chromatograph 
mass spectrometer, used at the 
Olympics to detect drug use in ath- 
letes. The machine will make it pos- 
sible to determine the chemicals 
and toxins used on animals. 

With such an arsenal of resourc- 
es, the lab is poised to halt the 
grisly business of poaching. 
"There's a growing sense among 
poachers thai the easy life is go- 
ing to come to an end," Goddard 
says. DO 




conrnruuunn 

FAIRWAY TO HEAVEN: 

Pebble Beach is yours for the putting, thanks to virtual reality. Also, 

nuclear mudslinging and the bonny tides of Scotland 



Let it be known. Virtual reality 
golf is here, and it is good. 

It's good because golf 
takes tons of time. Hours for a 
tee time, hours to play a 
round, in sunshine if you're 
lucky, in hail and brimstone if 
you're not. Add lost balls, torn- 
up greens, and the threat of 
lightning and Lyme disease, 
and you know why 20 million 
American duffers at one time 
or another consider beating 
their clubs into plowshares. 

Enter virtual reality golf. 

Instead of spending the 
night trying fitfully to get 
some sleep in your car (in the 
hope of getting a tee time at 
your public links), you enter a 
private room, press a button, 
and voila, you're at majestic 
surfside Pebble Beach, or 
stately tree-lined Pinehurst II, 
or the European Champion- 
ship Links of Quinta do Lago, 
Portugal (all through a large 
screen on the wall and the miracle of software behind it). 
Drop a ball on the plastic turf, dial up wind velocity — nae 
wind, nae golf, say golfs sadistic originators, the Scots- 
pinch yourself to see if you're dreaming, and let it rip. 

Now if you live in the city, worse, New York City, where 
7 million souis are shoehorned into a few unescapable 
square miles, you've really got something, don't you think? 

The two different systems I played, InGolf and Par T, use 
infrared beams, photo-optical detectors, and computers to 
track the ball's velocity, spin, and direction. Whack your 
drive against the screen, the computer computes, and a 
blurred facsimile hooks or slices down the fairway. Then in- 
stead of having to search for the ball, or even schlepp 
through the grass to get there, the screen instantly chang- 
es, and without flexing a muscle you're peering at the flag- 
stick or at the trunk of a tree. 

Select your next club (after spotting the digitized yard- 
age) and hack away again. Finally, hopefully upon reach- 
ing the green, the plastic grass at your feet metamorphos- 
es into a putting surface. Drop your ball on a prearranged 
spot, knock in your putt, dial in your score, and it's on to the 
next championship hole. 




Raise your hand and a re- 
al waiter arrives, opening a 
frosty bottle of beer. Ooops, 
that's not virtual reality. 

In Manhattan 1 played Par 
T at Midtown Golf and the 
World Trade Country Club, 
and InGolf at the Eastern 
Athletic Club in Brooklyn 
Heights {there are Par T and 
InGolf courses around the na- 
tion). Both systems cost their 
owners more than $30,000, 
about the price of a member- 
ship in a fancy country club. 
It'll cost you about $25 an 
hour, and both use real balls, 
though InGolf's ball contains 
an inserted mirror to be posi- 
tioned precisely on a tee. 
Both promise extreme ac- 
curacy (Par T says to within 
a yard). My feeling is that the 
two systems tend to come up 
short on the drives and long 
on the slices — but then 
again, I usually come up 
short on my drives and long on my slices. 

Par T uses thousands of photos of real courses blown up 
onto the screen, whereas InGolf paints its fairways and 
greens like a giant video game. InGolf's advantage: In a pix- 
eled re-creation the ball melds in better with its surround- 
ings; for example, it has a shadow, splashes with the ap- 
propriate glub in water, ricochets with a rifle crack off tree 
limbs. Disadvantage: You're always wondering whether Don- 
key Kong will appear to stomp you into a divot. 

A tree in your way? Par T conveniently ignores the fact. 
(Midtown Golf swears they're going to fix that.) The simu- 
lated ball on the screen looks more like a whizzing alien 
than a golf shot. InGolf's trees are identical, like a cartoon — 
it is a cartoon — and golf's joys are, for us hackers at least, 
largely aesthetic. 

Of course, standing in the sun with the wind in your hair 
and, after taking a whack, watching your golf ball waft into 
a cloudless sky can never be simulated. Neither can shiv- 
ering in the rain, waiting forever to hit a shot, or losing half 
a dozen balls on your first hole after staying up al! night to 
get a tee time. Hey, you can't have everything. 

— BOB BERGER 




coruTiruuunn 




THE VISION RING 

People with minor vision 

problems may soon be 
abie to throw away their 
glasses or contact lenses. A 
California company has 
devised a tiny, transparent 
plastic ring, which, when 
implanted in the eye, re- 
shapes the eye to correct the 
patient's vision. The ring 
flattens the eye's curvature to 
correct nearsightedness, 
steepens it to correct 
farsightedness, or makes it 
more uniform to combat 
astigmatism. 

Known as the intrastromal 
corneal ring, the device, 
just three tenths of a nv limete 1 " 
long, worked perfectly 
with three eye patients at 
the Escola Paulista de 
Medicina Hospital in Sao 
Paulo, Brazil, last March. In 
an outpatient procedure 
there, surgeons needed 
only half an hour to embed 
the ring in the connective 
tissue of the eye, anchoring 
it in a channel 7.5 

34 OMNI 



millimeters in diameter. 

The Brazilian surgeons 
reported that the two- 
millimeter incisions healed 
in three days, says Thomas 
Loarie, president of Kera- 
Vision, which devised the 
polymethyl methacrylate 
ring. In addition, the patients 
felt no pain and couldn't 
even feel the implant. Loarie 
expects the procedure's 
cost to be competitive with 
that of such other types of 
corrective eye surgery as 
■ac : al keratotomy and laser 
sculpting, which can cost 
more than $1 ,500 per eye, 

Three-phase clinical trials 
of the procedure will be ■. 
conducted with 600 patients 
at locations including the 
Bethesda Eye Institute in St. 
Louis and should be com- 
pleted in the mid-Nineties. 
— George Nobbe 

"Live so that you wouldn't 

be ashamed, to sell the 
fa!r::iy parrot to the town 
gossip. " 

—Will Rogers. 



CLEANING UP WITH 
MUD 

Mud: Politicians sling it, 
pigs wallow in it. Now mud 

has a chance to clean up its 
image as well as uranium- 
contaminated waterways and 
nuclear waste sites. 

Led by Derek R. Lovley, 
scientists at the U.S. 
Geological Survey in Reston, 
Virginia, have found that a 
strain of bacteria common to 
mud transforms uranium, a 
highly soluble radioactive 
■-eial. into a solid hat can be 



plants could be pumped 
through bioreactors seeded 
with the microbe, which can 
be cultured fairly rapidly, 
Lovley says. The dissolved 
uranium would then be 
transformed into metal solids 
that could be easily removed, 
leaving purified water to be 
returned to the environment. 
— Khephra Burns 

"We should all be concerned 
about the future because 
we will have to spend 
the rest of our lives there. " 
— Henry Longfellow 



THE FIRST SUCCESSFUL CORNEA TRANSPLANT ON 
RECORD TOOK PLACE IN 1 835. A BRITISH 
ARMY SURGEON IN INDIA REMOVED THE CORNEA 
FROM A FRESHLY KILLED ANTELOPE AND 
GRAFTED IT ONTO THE EYE OF HIS PET ANTELOPE. 



easily isolated in wasiewa~8r 
and filtered out. 

The bacterium, a rod- 
shaped microbe known as 
GS-15, usually gets its 
energy from a similar 
reaction involving the trans- 
formation of iron. But 
laboratory experiments show 
that it derives twice as 
much energy from metaboliz- 
ing uranium. 

The findings not only "help 
to explain the presence of 
uranium ore in certain 
sediments, but more import- 
ant, they provide a possible 
".echanism for cleaning up 
environments contaminated 
with soluble uranium at a very 
rapid rate," says John Stolz, 
an assistant professor of 
biology at Duquesne Univer- 
sity in Pittsburgh. 

Wastewater from uranium 
mining and nuclear power 



RARE BREED 

Nearly a century ago 
ranchers attempted to start a 
cattle ranch on New 
Zealand's remote subantarc- 
tic Enderby Island. When 
the venture 1 failed, the 
ranchers abandoned the 
cattle to fend for themselves. 
Remarkably, the animals 
survived to the present day. 

New Zealand scientists 
have begun collecting 
semen from the cattle, an 
early shorthorn type now 
extinct elsewhere, in an 
attempt to broaden the 
world's bovine gene pool, 

Because the Enderby 
Island cattle have never been 
exposed to antibiotics, 
microbiologists have taken a 
keen interest in studying 
the bacteria in iheir digest- 
ive systems. 



Doctor of animal science 
Hugh Blair of New Zealand's 
Massey University, who is 
organizing the semen collec- 
tion, believes that the 
cattle could provide a much- 
needed alternative to 
"specialized, high-perform- 
ance animals." 

Ironically, the move to 
preserve the cattle's genetic 
material was prompted 
by plans to exterminate the 
animals as part of a pro- 
gram to turn Enderby Island 
into a wildlife preserve. 

— H. J. Cording 



SURF POWER 

Civil engineers at Queen's 
University in Belfast have 
found a way to use the waves 
crashing onto Scotland's 
island of Islay to power the 
siand town of Port na Haven. 

The prototype facility relies 
not on the rise and fall of 
tides, but on columns of 
water from incoming waves 
that rush into a 120-cubic- 
meter concrete cham- 
ber atop a rock gully at the 
shoreline. The water com- 
presses the air at the top of 



YOU CAN'T FLY 


the club. "It's normally 


HOME AGAIN 


about a six-hour trip." 




Puzzled, Kluge contacted 


On June 8, 1991, the 


experts at the University of 


Kenai Peninsula Racing 


Alaska in Fairbanks, who 


Pigeon Club released 58. 


told him the pigeons had 


experienced racing pi- 


likely fallen victim to violent 


geons from King Salmon, 


solar flares-. 


Alaska. Two weeks later 


To guide themselves, the 


only five pigeons had made 


birds rely on the earth's 


their way horns to Kenai, 


magnetic field, which was 


230 miles to the east. 


disturbed by frequent 


"Thaf s an extremely low 


solar flares in June, 


rate of return," says Bill 


according to geophysics . 


KlUfle, president-elect of 


and electrical engineering 






professor Robert Hun- 
sucker, The flares and 










resulting' magnetic storms 






disoriented the pigeons. 






"The higher the latitude, the 




more disoriented they get," 


;J[^L 


What about fhe wayward 




fliers? "If we were going to 




have stragglers, odds are 




they would have come in by 


^^^"^fflr 


now," Kluge says. "These 


birds probably kept flying 




and flying, believing- they 


.' ■■■■ 


were headed in the right 


direction. Some might have 


[-_^^__ ■ ■■ ■■■ ■-■-H 


gone a thousand- miles 


Solar flares make racing 


before. Stopping to rest." 


pigeons lose their way. 


— Steve Nadis 




Hang ten— kilowatts, thai is: Civil er-.g.nssrs at Belfast's Queen's 
University have turned the power of waves into electricity 



the chamber, driving a 
turbine, according to engi- 
neers Alaister Thompson 
and Trevor Whitaker. When 
the waves recede, they 
leave a vacuum in the en- 
closure that sucks air 
back in, continuing to power 
the turbine. At 1 ,500 rev- 
olutions per minute, the 
normal speed of a standard 
electrical generator, the 
demonstration plant can pro- 
duce 40 kilowatts of 
electricity, enough to keep 
all the lights aglow in Port na 
Haven (population: 200]. 
"Atlantic waves travel very 



long distances without 
dissipating energy," 
Thompson says. 

The demonstration plant 
will run off and on for 
the next two years of tests, 
financed by England's 
Department of Energy. 
Thompson and Whitaker 
plan further study of the 
chamber's design but they 
are confident that wave 
power can eventually meet 
electricity needs along the 
west coast of Britain as 
cheaply as coal and with 
less damage to the environ- 
ment.— George Mobbe 

35 




cofUTiruuunn 



FARMING THE SEA 
BREEZES 

Picturesque windmills dot 
the landscape in Den- 
mark and other northern 
European countries- Now 
windmills have begun rising 
from the icy. sea off the ■ 
southern -coast of Sweden 
as part of a plan to harness . 
the winds to power the 
entire country. 

Lastfall. the- world's first 
ocean-based windmill be- 
gan operating in a. corner of 
Sweden's Hand Bay. With, a 
diameter of 75 feet and 
anchored by'three concrete 
legs, the rotor rises 123 feet 
above the Baltic Sea. 
Sydkraft, one- of the- 
country's two major utilities, 
operates it as well as 
Sweden's largest land- 
based windmill, ■ 

Sydkraft. put the- new ' 
windmill out at sea because 
breezes are stronger 
and more consistent off- 



shore '.than inland, Compe- . 
tition for real estate has 
.also cut the. amount of land' 
available for siting hun- 
dreds of windmills-. On the 
downside, offshore wind 
generators cost more to ■ 
build and operate. "We're 
hoping' that the ihcreaset 



■0 ,: 



;rgy w 



rnpen- 



sale for the high, 
.says Qlof Sandberg of the 
National Energy Admin- 
istration in Stockholm: ■ 

. During a five-year test, 
energy officials will monitor 
the: Hand Bay turbine's . 
performance and its- effect 
on local fishing and 
shipping/ if all goes well, 
Sydkraft plans to build.'an 
oceanic-wind energy "farm" 
of 98 windmills, it's 
estimated' that 60 of -these 
farms would, be needed to 
replace- Sweden's nuclear . 
power' plants, which are 
scheduled to be phased 
out by the year 2010:. 

— Sieve Nacs 





EAT IT, WEAR IT, OR 
DUMP IT 

A Seventies Saturday 
Nigh: Live sketch touted the 
wonders of Shimmer, both 
a dessert topping and a floor 
wax. Zooglan has even 
more diverse uses: It's a 
ihickering and lubricating 
agent in food and cosmetics, 
and it's just about ideal for 
cleaning up wastewater. 

Produced by a bacterium 
called Zooglea ramigeria, 
Zooglan bas'caliy consists oi 
polysaccharides, long 
otrirg.; of sugar molecules, 
according to Donald D. 
Easson, a biochemical engi- 
neer who conducted much of 
his research at the Massa- 
chusetts Institute of Technol- 
ogy. Exactly what Zooglea 
;es Zooglan for 
remains something of a 
mystery. "It could be an ener- 
gy storage source that 
i "it- :j.ac":o- : o need ".o survive.' 



Easson theorizes. . 

ramigeria gets by in its 
watery environment by ab- 
sorbing such nutrients 
as iron, he says. 

The bacteria also carry a 
negative electrical charge 
that causes them to bind with 
heavy metals of the sort 
found in wastewater, making 
them clump together and 
settle into a residue easily sepa- 
rated from the water. 
Easson and his colleagues 
think that, using genetic 
engineering, they can design 
a process to produce enough 
Zooglan for cleaning up 
wastewater on a large scale. 
Easson envisions grow- 
ing the bacteria in tanks, 
isolating and harvesting the 
strings of molecules. 

— George Nobbe 

"Nothing wears clothes, but 
Man; nothing doth 
need but he to wear them. " 
— George Herbert 




coruTiruuunn 




RAT RANCHING 

How do you feed the 
hungry poor in Africa? Let 

them eat rats. 

Like the Gambian and 
cane cutter rats, or nkumbi, 
found in nearly a third of 
Africa. Considered a delica- 
cy there, the cat-sized 
rodents are tough to catch, 
so a team at the University 
of Wisconsin (UW) has 
begun domesticating them 
for backyard rat ranching. 

Such "microlivestock" 
have many advantages, 
according to Jane Homan, 
veterinarian and associate 
scientist in the university's 
international programs office. 
The critters eat local plants, 
require no special feeds, 
have little impact on the 
environment, and can be 
raised in backyard pens 
much as Westerners might 
keep chickens. Any extra 
meat can easily be sold at 
the local market. 

Mbakulirahi Malekani, a 
professor at Zaire's Universi- 
ty of Kinshasa, came up with 

38 OMNI 



BY AGE 35, WHEN THE 
HUMAN SKELETON 
HAS REACHED ITS PEAK 
MASS, BONES CAN 
BEAR 24,000 POUNDS 
OF PRESSURE PER 
SQUARE INCH WITHOUT 
BREAKING. 



the idea of domesticating the 
giant rats. He contacted 
Tom Yuill, associate dean of 
UW's School of Medicine, 
having noticed Yuill's work 
with the National Research 
Council's Board on Sci- 
ence, Technology, and Inter- 
national Development on , 
tapping underutilized re- 
sources around the world. 
Yuill and Homan subse- 
quently began collaborating 
on the rat project, and 
they have since received a 
grant to perfect rodent 
ranching and started a 
colony of Gambian rats in 
Zaire. Domesticating the 
rats "is really a case of trying 
to develop appropriate 



management techniques," 
[ike the control of parasites 
and disease, Homan says. 
For all of giant rats' good 
points, don't look for rat 
meat at your supermarket. 
The researchers have no 
plans for major commercial 
production or even the 
importation of rat meat from 
Africa. Even though musk- 
rats and other "bush" 



animals are eaten in various 
parts of the United States, 
Homan says, Western- 
ers draw the line at eating 
rats.— Peggy Noonan 

"When you say you agree 
on a thing in principle, you 
mean you have not the 
slightest intention of carry- 
ing it out in practice. " 

— Otto von Bismark 



ROBBING FISH OF 



In an attempt to repro- 
duce before landing in a 
fisherman's net; codfish in 
the .North Sea. now mature. 
earlier than, they did a 
century ago, says Cathy ■ 
■Rowell, a doctoral, biology 
student at England's Unf- ■ 
versify of York. 

A female cod can live up 
to 20 years, reproducing 
every year from the, age -of 
3- or 4. But now, Rowel], 
says, there is a 60 percent 
chance each year that- a 
cod witfbe caught in the : ■ 
heavily trawled North Sea 
once it reaches the legally 
harvestabteage.Only 15. 
percent. of the- fish currently 
survive to breed at the age 
of 3, and. only 5 percent 



reach the age of 4, 

Checking historical rec- 
ords, Rowell found that in 

. 1893 half the female cod 
population became mature 
once they reached. 75 
centimeters long. Nearly ■ 
100 years later, half the' 
females are becoming 

. fertile at- 50 centimeters. 

"I looked at other 
indicators, like tempera- . 
ture," Rowell says, "bui tne 
■pattern of change provides 
dramatic evidence that it is 
human- activity that is 
forcing the cod. to change 
so rapidly. This is one of the 
few known cases of 
evolution occurring ai: a 
direct -result of human 
behavior rather than as a 

■.gradual' response to chang- 

■ es in. the environment. " 

—Ivor Smullen 




LAST JULY OMMI JOINED 

A FLOTILLA OF SUN WORSHIPPERS ON A VOYAGE 

INTO THE TWILIGHT ZONE . 



CRUISING THE 

ECLIPSE 



'**! O 



7:27 A.M., July 7, 1991. We're ninety-six hours from the eclipse, but some of the dedicated eclipse fans are 
already out on the starboard railings of the S.S. Independence, squinting anxiously at the sun. It's good and 
bright, right this minute. That's pretty much the way you'd expect the sun to be here in these sunny Hawaiian 
waters, and the good news is that if the moon were going to slide in front of it today instead of four days from now 
you'd surely say that it was being eclipsed, all right. The bad news is that you wouldn't be able to make out some 
of the fainter outer corona because there's a thin, high fan of cirrus that starts at the horizon and spreads out over 
the eastern sky. It won't keep you from getting a sunburn, but it's just enough to fuzz out the fainter patches of 
coronal light. Maybe our luck will be better on July 11. 

Maybe it won't, too. Pacific skies are cloudy. I've flown over this ocean twice in the last few weeks, fourteen 
and a half hours from San Francisco to Hong Kong, and there was never a minute when I could look out my 
window and see no clouds in the sky at all. This morning there are fluffy little clumps of cumulus all over the 
eastern horizon. Twenty minutes later, while we're eating our breakfast papaya and omelets on the fantail, a cou- 
ple of clumps slide right over the sun, and that's the kind of thing that can really spoil an eclipse for you. 





ARTICLE BY FREBERIK P0HL 



THE SUN AND MOON DON'T CONSULT 

HUMAN WISHES WHEN T8EY MEET, TYPICALLY IN THE MIDDLE OF AN OCEAN, 

JUNGLE, OR SIBERIAN WASTELAND 



Of course, on the Independence we'll be a moving tar- 
get. We should be able to dodge a few cumulus shadows. 
We'd better do it, too. There are 800 passengers who have 
booked passage on the Independence for the sole and sim- 
ple reason that they want to see the sun go out. If they don't 
see it with their own eyes some of them are going to be thirst- 
ing for blood. 

Eight hundred on the Independence, 800 more on its sis- 
ter ship, the Constitution, heaven knows how many others 
aiming to be out at sea somewhere in Hawaiian waters, on 
anything from a kayak to a catamaran, so they can get a 
good look at the Nineties' best eclipse. 

The great thing about the July 11, 1991, eclipse isn't just 
that it's a good long one (more than four minutes of totality 
right here; some other eclipses give you only seconds) but 
that its path sweeps right over a lot of places where people 
like to go anyway. Once it leaves the Big Island its next 




stop on land is the tourist havens along the Mexican coast; 
so Baja California is standing room only, too. Other eclipses 
have been in far less desirable (or, for that matter, accessi- 
ble) places. Ttie sun and moon don't consult human wishes 
when they meet. The moon's shadow can strike the earth 
anywhere on its sunlit (or, of course, temporarily nonsunlit) 
face from the North Pole to Antarctica, and it has a distress- 
ing habit of doing so in the middle of an ocean, jungle, or 
,. Siberian wasteland; when scientists wanted to check 
;■. out Albert Einstein's relativity predictions by observ- 
I ing the May 29, 1919, eclipse they had to goto an 



island ir 



Africa's Gulf of Guinea to do it. 

, some of our shipmates 

I on the Independence might do 

' the same thing. Some of them 

have seen three, five, as many 

^as a dozen total eclipses in 

^ one part of the world or an- 

i other, anywhere from New 

York's Central Park (that 

wasway backin 1925; Isaw 

most of that one myself) to the 

China Sea, and they all want 

| more. They come in all shapes and 

sizes, our shipmates do. Over the 

[ week we're at sea I meet an Army 

' chaplain, an advertising execu- 



tive, a bundle of teachers at all levels, retired senior citizens 
from assorted walks of life, and — unusual for a cruise ship, 
but not really unexpected for this one — a great many work- 
ing scientists: astronomers, physicists, mathematicians, bi- 
ologists, chemists, computer people, and one or two who 
don't exactly say what it is they're working on, but whose 
home base is one or another research facility of the De- 
partment of Defense. 

Then there are the kids. There are dozens of them. We 
happen to have lunch one day with a bright, well-mannered 
seven-year-old named Michael, traveling with his grandpar- 
ents and doing his best to be good company ... but clearly 
yearning to get it over with so he. can get back to his Nin- 
tendo. The adults have other entertainment: movies, hula les- 
sons, cards, contests, cabaret shows, and "us" — astronaut 
Michael Collins, photographer George Keene, meteorologist 
Joe Rao, and generalist (which is to say, science-fiction writ- 



4 ~|' 




er) me. This will be Keene's eleventh eclipse, and he has 
spectacular photographs of the last five to prove it. Joe Rao 
is the weatherman who will try to pick out the clearest piece 
of ocean for us on the morning of the eleventh, besides 
which he has seen and photographed several eclipses him- 
self, while Mike Collins, on his way around the moon on Apol- 
lo 11 in 1969, saw all the personal eclipses a person might 
want. I am low man on this particular totem pole. All I have 
is the memory of that ancient 1925 event — and now Joe Rao 
breaks the news to me that I was several miles too far south 
and east at the time to see real totality, so that all I actually 
got was about a 99.99 percent partial. I never knew that. I 
was five years old. All I knew was that the sun went out. 

We sail after sunset. When it's full dark and we're well away 
from the light pollution of Honolulu and Waikiki, Joe Rao 
takes a bunch of us out on deck to look at the constella- 
tions. Captain L. Richard Haugh has turned off all the lights 
the rules of the sea will allow, and the seeing is good. 

This is a good place to see the southern constellations, 
and these are good ships for the purpose. Especially if you 
want to take pictures. They were originally built as Atlantic 
liners, with glamorous histories, until the Hawaiian-American 
Line rebuilt them to cruise the islands. They're steady pho- 
tographic platforms because their propulsion is gentle 
steam rather than the sometimes jittery diesel motors. 

7:28 A.M., July 8. We're tied up at the port of Nawiliwili, 
Kauai, and if the eclipse were this morning we'd be in pretty 




Finally, aVCR everybody 
and his dog can program. 




| Rjght now, a sweet 74-year-old lady check your TV listing for the Plus Code, then punch it in. 
5 holding a baseball bat over her Its as simple as that. 

I VCR. A mother is covering her Its another miracle from the people who introduced 

J's ears while Dad tries to television and still sell more of them than anyone else, 

record a show. Neighbors gather on the sidewalk to The people who still lead in VCR sales, 
witness a man on his roof, preparing to drop his VCR. Phone 1-800-556-1900 and inquire about diis new RCA 

We have heard you all. VCR with VCR Plus+, or see your RCA dealer. He knows, 

So we introduce the first VCR that makes recording better than anyone besides yourself, how it feels to record a 

a show as easy as watching one. This new RCA VCR has play-off game and wind up with a home shopping show 

VCR Plus+ built m. To record a show, after initial setup, Changing Kntortaizmieiu. Ag-.uii: 



ItC/l 



good shape. The high cirrus veil is 

gone, and although there are some 
hefty cumuli around, we shouldn't 
have much trouble dodging them. 

There's one unwelcome develop- 
ment. The trade winds blow steadily 
from the east at these latitudes, but for 
the last few days they've been taking 
some time off. Now, in the absence of 
the trades, dust from the erupting vol- 
cano in the Philippines has backtracked 
to our air. Besides burying Clark Field, 
Mount Pinatubo is making a faint, al- 
most invisible, silvery sheen over the 
sky. Its dust has made some gorgeous 
sunsets, but sunsets we can get almost 
any day, and it's for the best possible 
' view of the total eclipse that we've col- 
lectively traveled all these miles. 

Mauna Loa isn't the Big Island's on- 
ly towering mountain. The other is Mau- 
na Kea, just a trifle taller and crowned 
with astronomical observatories. 

That's one of the other graces of 
this July 1991 eclipse: Its path of total- 
ity goes smack over one of the world's 
largest aggregations of big telescopes, 
on the peak of Mauna Kea. The reason 
so many institutions have put their big- 
gest instruments there isn't because the 
astronomers like sunbathing on the 
beaches— actually, much of the pro- 
gramming for the telescopes is done by 



remote control from as far away as the 
Greenwich Observatory in England — 
but because the seeing is so good. At 
two and a half miles up, the mirrors are 
placed well above much of the earth's 
air and most of its obscuring water va- 
por — most of the time. 

Still, I know from personal experience 
that even up there the seeing some- 
times goes sour. I'm an observatories 
fan — everything from the Big Eye on 
Mount Palomar to the Bigger Dish of the 
radio telescope at Arecibo, Puerto Ri- 
co — and once when I was staying in Hi- 
lo I couldn't resist the temptation to 
take a look. Against advice I rented a 
four-wheel-drive vehicle and made the 
climb. The advice had been good. It 
wasn't a fun drive: narrow road snak- 
ing up the mountain, high winds that 
made the Jeepster slither back and 
forth on the loose gravel, with 500-foot 
drops and no guardrails, and a freez- 
ing, sleety tempest at the top, There 
wasn't going to be any seeing that day, 
Not even sight-seeing; I turned right 
around and headed back down— and 
was lucky, I guess, because the next 
day the road washed out in the storm 
and a party of astronomers was stuck 
on the mountain for three days. 

And they're not doing much better 
now. The peak of Mauna Kea has 




been socked in for three days, and the 
solar astronomers are biting their nails. 
They really want to get this one in. It's 
not their only chance, quite. Sooner or 
later there will be another total eclipse 
passing over their heads, but, on av- 
erage, they come back- to' the same 
place only once every 350 years. 

The Mauna Kea astronomers don't re- 
ally need a total eclipse to study, for in- 
stance, the sun's corona. They do it all 
year round. They make their own eclips- 
es, when they want them, by sliding a 
sun-sized opaque disc into the optics 
of their telescopes, and with the bright 
solar disc hidden the corona pops 
right out. But then sunglow lights the air 
around the image, and besides, the 
chance of comparing the natural 
eclipse with the coronagraph studies 
lets them check their simulation, and any- 
way they certainly want to see it. 
They've been setting up for this once-in- 
several-lifetimes photo opportunity on 
Mauna Kea for a long time, and the 
clouds that are now hovering around 
the top of the mountain have never 
been more unwelcome. 

On deck a passenger asks me if we're 
going to see Baily's Beads. I couldn't 
be more pleased, because I happen to 
know the answer to that one: "No." 

Baily's Beads are the little necklace 
of bright points of light that you some- 
times see around the eclipsed sun at 
totality. They come from the mountains 
on the rim of the moon; at an exact 
matchup the valleys between them let 
light from the sun's rim through. 

But we won't see them this trip, be- 
cause on this eclipse the moon is a tad 
too large; it will overlap the disc of the 
sun and thus cut off not only Baily's 
Beads but a little of the inner corona, 
and the reasons for that are that the 
moon happens to be about as close to 
us (at 222,380 miles) as it ever gets, 
and also simply that it's July. 

The season of the year matters. The 
earth's orbit around the sun isn't a per- 
fect circle; it's stretched out a little to 
become an ellipse, and the sun isn't ex- 
actly at the center of it. What makes 
things nice for the Northern Hemisphere 
is that when it's our winter we're at the 
part of the orbit that's closer to the sun, 
and now in July we're the farthest from 
it— 94,552,000 miles or so instead of the 
average distance of around 93,000,000. 
This makes our Northern seasons a lit- 
tle milder than those south of the equa- 
tor, but it also makes the sun relatively 
a little smaller for this summer eclipse. 
Thus there will be the moon's overlap — 
and no beads. 

Carried away with this success, I go 
on to demonstrate some eclipse-view- 



v as * - 



ps 



,* 1950. 



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You always come back to the basics: j 



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SURGEON GENERAL'S WARNING: Smoking 
Causes Lung Cancer, Heart Disease, 
Emphysema, And May Complicate Pregnancy. 



fistful of flavor vm 



ing techniques. The ship's owners 
have passed out cards containing patch- 
es of totally exposed photographic film 
to look through, which is one first-rate 
way to do it. The patches are about as 
nearly totally opaque as you can get— 
if you hold them over a light bulb, the 
bulb is invisible — but through them the 
sun is nicely visible, looking like a tiny 
orange hanging in space. 

There are other ways of seeing the 
sun without risking your optic nerve, too, 
and 1 demonstrate some of them to my 
rapidly growing audience, which some- 
times gets up to as many as four. I 
show them how to make a pinhole in a 
stiff sheet of paper and hold it over a 
white surface; the pinhole becomes a 
lens and the image on the surface is a 
perfect tiny replica of the sun. A larger 
image can be made by using binocu- 
lars or a small telescope — not looking 
through it, of course, because that's a 
rapid way to achieve blindness, but let- 
ting the light from the eyepiece fall on 
a surface. Or you can simply use a mir- 
ror to reflect an image on a wall. 

It's worth looking at even before the 
eclipse, because this is an active peri- 
od for the sun just now— many flares, 
many sunspots. With the naked eye I 
can't see any sunspots on any of our 

46 OMNI 



but through a 30-power tele- 
scope I find two big ones close togeth- 
er and a speckling of tinier ones, like 
grains of black pepper on a melon, 
With all this activity there should be 
some fine flares to see at totality. 

At night George Keene gives a slide 
talk on the planets of the solar system 
and some of the more glamorous other 
telescopic objects. The cruise director 
has scheduled the talk for the ship's 
125-seat theater, yet there are 200 or 
300 other passengers milling around 
who want to get in and can't, 

The thing is, the people on the Inde- 
pendence are not your usual passen- 
gers. Some of them are normal enough 
to just want the usual sea, sun, and shop- 
ping, and for them the eclipse is just 
a nice little added attraction, but the 
overwhelming majority are a different 
breed. They are among those lucky few 
who have discovered what a grand spec- 
tator sport science is. I understand 
them well, for I am of their blood. Like 
them, I try to chase science wherever 
I go, from marveling at fossils captured 
in the polished marble lobby of a Man- 
hattan skyscraper to 2, 200- year-old irri- 
gation projects in China. I have found 
people like these among the geysers of 
Iceland and in Africa's Rift Valley. Cer- 



lainly they're going to want to attend the 
lectures. Even if it means missing the 
ukulele lessons. 

7:28 a.m„ July 9. We steamed all night, 
and this morning we're anchored off the 
Kona coast of the Big Island. If the 
eclipse were right now we might 
squeak by — the sun's there, all right, 
but it isn't perfect. It's dimmed by 
some clouds over the mountain. 

Of course, on the eleventh we won't 
be this close to any mountains. We'll be 
anything up to 50 miles offshore, but 
when I look off to where- we'll be on the 
western horizon what I see is a pretty 
discouragingly thick cloud bank. Forty- 
eight hours from now that one will be 
long gone ... but what will take its 
place? We're not that far from the In- 
tertropical Convergence Zone— the lat- 
itudes that sailing-ship masters used to 
call the doldrums — which is the place 
where the light and fickle winds go in 
all directions and can pop up a disturb- 
ance on short notice, So weather fore- 
casting in these latitudes is tricky, and 
the captain pores over the meteorolog- 
ical reports with Joe Rao. 

In their talks Keene and Rao are cov- 
ering the skies and the weather, so 
when I do my first lecture I talk about 



the geology of the Hawaiian islands. 
They're definitely volcanic, but they're 
also situated a long way from the "ring 
of fire" around the Pacific Ocean, 
where colliding tectonic plates produce 
Mexico's Parfcutin and Washington 
State's Mount St. Helens and all the oth- 
ers, up through Alaska and down 
through Kamchatka and Japan. Hawaii 
sits right in the middle of the biggest 
tectonic plate of all, where you don't ex- 
pect volcanoes to be. Yet the islands 
are nothing but a long string of volca- 
noes, the newest one, the Big Island, 
to the south and east of the island arc; 
the others growing older as they 
stretch off to the north and west, past 
Kauai, as far as the eroded surface 
atolls and underwater seamounts that 
end the chain. 

What made them? A "hot spot," a 
place under the solid Pacific plate 
where the magma was a little hotter and 
more buoyant than the stuff around it, 
and so it pushed its way up through the 
rock to make a volcano. As that volca- 
no grew, it became an island. But then 
the Pacific plate, slowly moving north- 
east, pulled that first volcano away 
from the hot spot, and another began 
in its place. And so on while the older 
ones, their renewing lava flov^s having 



dried up, began to be slowly eroded by 
the wind, rain, and waves. 

The independence is going to 
spend most of the day in the port of Hi- 
lo on the Big Island of Hawaii. The new- 
est island, it still has the active volca- 
noes of Mauna Loa and Kilauea. I urge 
all the science chasers in the audience 
to take the 40-minute drive up to spec- 
tacular Volcanoes National Park so 
they can see the craters. 

The other lecturers have been talk- 
ing about the exploration of space — 
particularly Mike Collins, who has 
been there. Curiously, there's a connec- 
tion between the lava tubes of Hawaii 
and the prospects for lunar coloniza- 
tion — maybe. A lava tube is formed 
when the lava spilling out of an over- 
flowing crater or vent rolls down a hill; 
the lava moves in the form of fingers, 
like chocolate syrup dripping down the 
sides of a sundae, and the outer sur- 
face of each finger begins to cool al- 
most at once. After a while the outer sur- 
face hardens, forming a sort of pipe 
that contains the molten rock pouring 
through its interior. When the source 
pool of lava dries up, the lava inside 
spills out. The hollow tube remains, 
though it is covered by later flows. 

The moon once had volcanoes, too, 



and they probably produced their own 
lava tubes. If so, they're probably still 
there and reasonably intact — there's not 
much erosion on the surface of the 
moon to break them up as it would on 
Earth — and because of the light lunar 
gravity they're probably much bigger 
than Kilauea's, as much as 1,000 feet 
in diameter and miles long. 

So there's a bit of good luck for any 
future lunar colonists. They probably 
would be looking for a safe place to 
live underground, away from the dan- 
ger of radiation from solar flares. If 
they could find a convenient lava tube 
they could save a lot of excavation: dig 
down to the tube, slap a coat of seal- 
ant on the walls, fill it with air (probably 
imported from Earth). 

All that, of course, contains several 
maybes — of which the biggest is that, 
maybe, we will sooner or later go back 
to the moon, this time to stay. 

Around midnight we all get an unad- 
vertised bonus, namely a chance to see 
some serious volcanism in action. 

We don't have to chase this science 
very far. All we have to do is look over 
the rail, because the Independence is 
rounding the southern shores of the Big 
Island, and that's where Madam Pele 



has been spilling her lava into the sea 
for the last few years. Villages have 
been buried, tropical forests set afire, 
and still the flow oozes down. 

From the ship the first thing we see 
is a spattering of ruddy lights along the 
slope of the mountain. At a distance 
they look like the campfires. They aren't. 
They're what volcanologists call "sky- 
lights." As the lava tubes cocoon their 
red-hot contents on their way downhill, 
the tubes sometimes crack and bright 
sludge peeps out. And then, when 
they reach the beaches and the surf, 
the streams explode into clouds of 
steam, brightly lit from the fiery lava, 
shooting off rockets of red-hot rock in 
all directions. You can see this fountain- 
ing firework display 20 miles away. 
There are three of these steam infernos 
working now, and as we get closer we 
can hear them, too: hissing and spat- 
tering, occasionally a distant gunshot 
sound. In a lifetime that has given me 
chances of close-up inspections of a 
number of volcanoes, I have never 
seen anything like it. 

That's not quite all. There's another 
marvel nearby, though we can't actu- 
ally see it. 

That one is the next Hawaiian island, 
already growing under the surface of 
the sea; it is nine miles offshore, or just 



about under our keel at one point, and 
no more.than 5,000 feet away — but un- 
fortunately, those 5,000 feet are all wa- 
ter, straight down. Its name is Loihi, It 
will be a while before this young 
volcano's lava flows lift it above the sur- 
face, but then Loihi will be another is- 
land, and Hawaiians of that date will 
have to add a ninth bar to their state 
flag — about a million years from now. 

7:28 A.M., July 10. Sun up, sun glorious; 
if the eclipse were today instead of to- 
morrow we'd have it in the bank. 

Half an hour later, though, it's not so 
glorious. The clouds move in, a drizzle 
starts, before long it's pelting rain and 
if there's a sun in the sky there is no way 
for anyone on this ship to find it, But 
hey, what did you expect? We're dock- 
ed in the harbor of Hilo. 

Hilo is sited on the wet eastern side 
of the Hawaiian mountains, where the 
trade winds get lifted up and cooled off, 
causing them to drop out all their ac- 
cumulated burden of moisture before go- 
ing on to the (usually) dry Kona coast 
on the west. What that moisture does 
is fall as rain on the umbrellas of the peo- 
ple of Hilo — 200 inches of it in an aver- 
age year. It makes for wondrously lush 
tropical forests and gardens— but don't 
forget that umbrella. 



At midnight we're under weigh to the 
offshore point where we hope to see the 
sun go out, and Joe Rao is pacing the 
deck. We're already a long way from Hi- 
lo, but the clouds have followed us. The 
best he can count is three stars, and 
those only for minutes at a'time. It's wor- 
ry time on the Independence. He 
spent an hour at the weather station at 
Lyman Field in Hilo, and the best the 
maps and the forecasters could offer 
was a fingers-crossed "maybe." 

But there's nothing to be done 
about it now, and we all go to bed— for 
five or six hours, max. 

7:28 A.M., July 1 1 . This is it . . . and we 
lucked out! It's gorgeous, it's happen- 
ing, and it's clearly in sight! 

We're at latitude 19' 30' 42" North 
and longitude 156° 32' 54" West, 33 
and a bit miles off the Kona coast. 
Clouds are all around us. The Intertrop- 
ical Convergence Zone has done its 
number around us, and high cirrus and 
cirrostratus, mixed with Philippine vol- 
cano dust, are coming at us from one 
direction, while low, thick island 
clouds are heading toward us from an- 
other. But we're in the clear! There's a 
doughnut of clouds above, but the cap- 
tain has put us in the hole of the dough- 
nut, and we can clearly see the sun 
coniinjldonpageie- 




/ '■: 



Shown slightly smaller 

than actual size 
of 10" tall, including 



A premiere from the Franklin Mint 



Museum Collection 









Omni goes into Earth 
orbit on a mission to test a pre 



new space material 




y bag. As Get Away Special Con- 
it cooled, it formed a test ol 1982. The NASA 



repre- $3,000 Get Away tab as 



ers may use this technol- 



RAPH BY MALCOLM KIRK 




ing experiments testing everything 
from the embryonic growth of sea ur- 
chins to psychic spoon bending in 
space. Omni's judges, including phys- 
icist Robert W. Bussard, inventor of the 
interstellar ramjet, narrowed their choic- 
es to one: Cocks's novel scheme to cre- 
ate ultralight metal compounds of 
magnesium, aluminum, and lithium in ze- 
ro gravity. The judges deemed his con- 
cept the likeliest to advance the cause 
of space development. 

If such structures as an elaborate 
space station are ever to get off the 
ground, they will have special require- 
ments: Primarily they must be strong but 
weigh little, since ail building materials 
must be shipped from Earth. 

Alloys of those ultralight metallic el- 
ements, Cocks theorized, just might fit 
the bill. Such metals are rarely used on 
Earth because they react with the atmos- 
phere, corroding when exposed to ox- 
ygen and humidity. 

In previous research Cocks, a 1963 
MIT graduate and professor of materi- 
als science at Duke University's 
School of Engineering, had noticed a 
fortuitous relationship between metal 
density and reactivity: It appears to be 
a natural law that the density of materi- 
als goes down as their chemical reac- 
tivity increases. 

"What this means is if you want to 
have extreme lightness in metals, then 
those metals will turn out to be chemi- 
cally reactive," Cocks says. 

For example, metals like platinum 
and lead are dense but not reactive. 
Iron is less dense and more reactive. 
Lithium is lighter still and extremely re- 
active. (Reactivity is not an issue in 
space, which is free from the earth's cor- 
roding atmosphere.) 

If light metals could satisfy the 
weight requirement of space construc- 
tion, what about the prescription for 
strength? Cocks believed the answer 
lay fn foam. Some 3D years ago 
Wernher von Braun suggested that light- 
weight, rigid structural materials could 
be created in space by injecting bub- 



bles into molten metal. "A beam made 
of foamed metal is much stiffer than a 
solid beam of the same weight," 
Cocks says, "because the bubbles ex- 
pand the material to a much greater 
cross-sectional area, away from the nat- 
ural bending axis." 

Foaming the metal in a microgravity 
environment prevents the bubbles 
from escaping from the heavier metal. 
Foaming should also save precious 
space on shuttle missions. "For build- 
ing small satellites, it's not worth the trou- 
ble," Cocks says. "But if you build some- 
thing that has many thousands of tons 
of material and you can lower the ton- 
nage by a factor of two. saving maybe 
twenty shuttle flights, then it becomes 
worth it." 

The favorable strength-to-weight ra- 
tio could lend other space ventures a 
hand. Cocks envisions using the 
foamed metals as a resilient satellite ar- 
mor, the need for which will grow along 
with the burgeoning volume of space 
debris. "We're talking about the 
chance of satellites being hit at veloci- 
ties unachievable on Earth— thirty-five 
thousand miles per hour," he says. 
"When you consider the prospect of 
manned satellites, the need for shield- 
ing becomes obvious." 

The ultralight metals also boast one 
intriguing environmental benefit. If a sat- 
ellite equipped with these reactive ma- 
terials reentered the atmosphere, it 
would burn up quickly rather than haz- 
ardously scatter its debris on Earth, as 
Skylab did in 1979. 

Developing such promising concepts 
was one thing. It was still a long way 
from dreaming up an experiment to ac- 
tually having one in the can. Cocks put 
to work a group of eager young under- 
graduate engineering students who'd 
signed up for a new course, space 
engineering. Unlike in the standard col- 
legiate fare, the class would actually 
see a tangible outcome: hardware that 
would fly in space. The group's uni- 
verse consisted of an aluminum canis- 
ter, less than 20 inches across and 15 



COCKS AND HIS STUDENTS FACED 

dauhtihb comma: 

THE EXPERIMENT COULDN'T RELY OH 

THE SHUTTLE'S POWEH 

SUPPLY OR THE ASTRONAUTS. 



inches high, that could withstand 
sound levels as high as 145 decibels 
and temperatures ranging from 110°F 
to -296° F. It would weigh no more than 
60 pounds, about the same as a fully 
loaded backpack. 

The class faced a daunting set of test- 
ing criteria. Get Away rules mandated 
that the experiment could not rely on 
the ship's power supply or personnel; 
the astronauts aboard the shuttle 
would only activate the battery-operat- 
ed experiment and turn it off again 
with a single switch. 

In the first year or so the student 
teams filled up as many as four labs in 
the engineering school building. "We 
were under pressure a couple of times 
because there were launch opportuni- 
ties we could have taken but in fact we 
missed," Cocks says. "I felt if we 
rushed we'd fail the safety checks." 

Extraordinary checks at that: NASA 
required that Cocks identify the source 
and the use of every experiment com- 
ponent. A safety data package that cov- 
ered all safety aspects of the experi- 
ment had to be submitted in three phas- 
es, each phase more detailed than the 
last one. 

Finally a satisfactory design emerg- 
ed. In quartz vials, a mixture of the var- 
ious light metals — magnesium, lithium, 
and aluminum — and titanium hydride 
would sit inside a chamber capped 
with an "extrusion channel" in the 
shape of an I beam. It would work like 
this: Beyond the inexorable pull of the 
planet, battery power would melt the 
alloy and release hydrogen gas from 
the hydride. The gas would bubble 
through the molten alloy, foaming it and 
forcing it through the channel, thus mold- 
ing a miniature I beam. 

With the hardware now approved, 
the Omni-Duke payload was assigned 
to a flight onboard the shuttle Discov- 
ery, Unfortunately, timing was every- 
thing: The flight was to follow the ill- 
fated Challenger mission of January 
1986, which killed all of the seven as- 
tronauts aboard. 

Get Away Special experimenters now 
faced new roadblocks. "After Challeng- 
er all the rules changed," Cocks says. 
"No combustible materials of any type 
whatever would be allowed on. We had 
to do the whole thing over again." 
Cocks's student crew was forced to re- 
place 147 pieces of a combustible 
heat shrink tubing with Teflon tubing. 
They also threw out the hydrogen foam- 
ing agent, substituting a magnesium sub- 
stance. This in turn meant remixing the 
various metal alloys to allow for temper- 
ature differences. 

Other safety standards proved even 
more vexing. The foaming chambers of . 

54 OMNI 



Cocks's experiment hardware had to be 
vacuum sealed. Yet in order to pass in- 
spection at the time of launch, Cocks 
was forced to prepare twice the num- 
ber of chambers necessary for the pay- 
load, the idea being that three cham- 
bers, selected at random by NASA safe- 
ty engineers, would be opened to test 
the vacuum seals prior to liftoff; if the 
seals held, the three remaining cham- 
bers would fly. 

Then Cocks left the six chambers un- 
der an active vacuum pump system 
he'd installed in a Duke basement lab. 
"That was the only way I could guaran- 
tee that over a period of years the pos- 
sibility of their slowly leaking would not 
lead to the experiment being bumped 
off the flight," Cocks says. "The only 
way I knew to do that was to maintain 
them under vacuum — which I did con- 
tinuously for six years." 

In the spring of 1990 Omni finally got 



6 One of the 
unsung benefits of the 

space program 
is encouraging students 

to go into 

science and engineering. 

Our experience 

clearly bears that out. 9 



the thumbs-up from NASA to fly the pay- 
load on a mission scheduled to lift off 
the following August. Cocks was under- 
standably nervous about those vacuum 
seals. Yet each of the three test cham- 
bers passed the final safety check. 

Further delays eventually pushed the 
launch back another nine months, to 
May of 1991. Finally, with a sigh of re- 
lief, Cocks gave over the canister and 
saw it lifted into the cargo bay of the 
shuttle Columbia. 

The next time he saw it, several anx- 
ious weeks after the ship's return to 
Earth, he was looking at three small I 
beams made ot the reactive alloys and 
yearning to get them back into the lab 
to test them for their resiliency and 
strength. The miniature I beams were 
each composed of different metal com- 
binations: magnesium-aluminum, mag- 
nesium-lithium, and aluminum-magne- 
sium-zinc. 

NASA has also offered to evaluate 
the material's ability to withstand high- 
velocity impacts. Then Cocks will have 
some idea of how well his funny 



foamed metal will fare against those par- 
ticles whipping about in space. 

The Duke University team joins an 
elite group — the small percentage of 
Get Away Special experimenters 
whose projects actuajly work after 
they've met the program's extraordinary 
requirements. "For the first time we 
have foamed light reactive metals un- 
der zero gravity," says Cocks. "That has 
never been done before." 

He is the first to applaud the students 
whose efforts and enthusiasm over the 
years kept the project alive. "One of the 
unsung benefits of the space program 
is encouraging students to go into sci- 
ence and engineering," he says. "Our 
experience certainly bears that out." Sev- 
eral of the course's students, he says, 
have gone on to pursue careers in the 
space industry. 

NASA has encouraged Cocks to re- 
test his light stuff on a future shuttle 
mission, possible if Cocks is able to se- 
cure another Get Away slot. Yet the pro- 
fessor may first take a brief break from 
space to catch his breath. "NASA's 
system does work," he admits, "but it 
works slowly." 

Still, shuttle launches have a way of 
making up for a lot of grief. Early in the 
morning on June 5 it was raining hard 
at Kennedy Space Center, and the pros- 
pects for launching looked pretty grim. 

In all, the engineering professor had 
made three trips to Kennedy during the 
shuttle's final preparation. The first was 
that tense critical check of the vacu- 
ums. The second time was a scheduled 
launch when engineers discovered a 
flaw in the hardware responsible for guid- 
ing the spacecraft back into the atmos- 
phere and delayed liftoff for four days. 
That time they came within 40 minutes 
of launching. Cocks had had no 
choice but to pack up his car and his 
wife and twin sixteen -year-old sons and 
drive the 12 hours back to North Caro- 
lina, only to return three days later. 

Now Cocks stood with his family and 
200 or so other visitors on the viewing 
stand peering anxiously out at the 
launch site and at the nearby monitors. 
NASA will not launch in rain or through 
more than 4,500 feet of cloud cover, 
and there was plenty of that. 

"But there was this large patch of 
blue sky," Cocks recalls, "and it was drift- 
ing our way. Then, my gosh, the blue 
patch drifted right over and they 
launched through it." 

A collective whoop went through the 
small crowd as the sound wave from Co- 
lumbia's mighty engines rolled over 
them. Fale, Cocks remembers thinking. 
"In spite of all that technology, we still 
depended on that tiny patch of blue sky 
drifting over us." DO 



cheek to cold glass 
the bridges nearest' 



,*.i 



3«l 



n of smoke up at the 



the cigar. Licks his lips. 
"I am living now," he 
hotel, one hun- 
dred fifty days." His jacket is 
, too, but not like Skin- 



tflialiBB ! 



,,._ but nobody 

ms to hear, fn the jungle 
t of Skinner's jacket sl~ " 



B r W l 'r riJ '. 



ies from the bridge. 



touches her, cold finger o 



FICTION BY WILLIAM GIBSON 





ale lobby with its PAINTING BY DOUGLAS FRASER room, this caulked b 



:ket: the knife's blade, opening it, 



i longer than her little fin- i 
ger, shaped something like its 



' body- against her thigh. He blinks 

with- at the click. He's having trou- 

ck un- bie focusing. "C 

iteadily, grinning wetly and Fifty days." 



integrity of its span within a ligatures of taut and rusting day, 



Kw J WmBw PH 



seams and elbows sueded le 

paie with wear, a jingle of w,.,, ,.. 

vings chine screws, tl 

around— D-rings, zip-pulls, it firmly to boottop, belt, or ebrating," he says, and skin, bright henna. Sounds 

THE RUSTING SPAN OF SAN FRANCISCO'S BAY BRIDGE 



mm 



H 



of Brigl 

ing decade of the previi 





^fe^^« 



n: Life is there. He 
lember when he 



tinguish comrr 
programming. 



perhaps a dozen coats of 
white latex paint. Higher re- 
flective index than alumi- 
num foil, he thinks, 17,464 
strands per cable. Facts. Of- 



void through which facts t 

ble, facts and 
connection. 

Its clothes hang from mis- 

-■-"d iron coat hooks 

at precise intervals 



I a different color. You 
the city through the 
3 of clear ) 



Sometimes he re 
bers building the roor 

The bridge's bones, its l 

ed tendons, are iost within an 
accretion of dreams: tattoo 
parlors, shooting galleries, 



stalls stacked with c 
stained years of men's mag- 



azines, chili joints, premises 
of unlicensed denturists, fire- 



betting shops, sushi cou 



, a tortilla facto- 
ry, Chinese greengrocers, liq- 
uor stores, herbalists, chi- 
ropractors, barbers, tackle 
shops, and bars. 

These are dreams of corn- 
ally corresponding with the 
--'-- originally intended for 
.~hicular traffic. Above 



she is. Looks at the pictures 
in National Geographic, 



pet he took f rot 
office block. 

Memory flickers like liquid scure occupation. 



t the bridge? 
. No, she says, the 
the bridge. San 



ree months befc,^, „ . 

i the bridge in 



f fruits and vegetables 
' h their goods spread 

-'—-, lit by r— 



TiW 



from up the coast. She'd 
come from that direction her- 
self, down past the stunted 



bed. Foam, topped with a 
sheepskin, bottom sheet 



She stared back into the 
ying to 



SKINNER'S ROOM IS A CRAMPED, CAULKED BOX OF OLD TEN-PLY BOARD, PERCHED AND HUMMING IN THE WIND 



carts. Neon scavenged from the ruins 
of Oakland. How it ran together, 
blurred, melting in the fog. Surfaces of 
plywood, marble, corrugated plastic, pol- 
ished brass, sequins, Styrofoam, trop- 
ical hardwoods, mirror, etched Victori- 
an glass, chrome gone dull in the sea 
air — all the mad richness of it, its random- 
ness — a tunnel roofed by a precarious 
shack town mountainside climbing to- 
ward the first of the cable towers. 

She stood a long time, looking, then 
walked straight in, past a boy selling 
coverless yellowed paperbacks and a 
cafe where a blind parrot was chained 
on a metal perch, picking at a chicken's 
freshly severed foot. 

Skinner surfaces from a dream of a bi- 
cycle covered with barnacles and 
sees that the girl is back. She's hung his 
leather jacket on its proper hook and 
squats now on her pallet of raw-edged 
black foam. 

Bicycle. Barnacles. 

Memory: A man called Fass 
snagged his tackle, hauled the bicycle 
up, trailing streamers of kelp. People 
laughed. Fass carried the bicycle away. 
Later he built a place to eat, a three- 
stool shanty leached far out over the 
void with Super Glue and shackles. 
Sold cold cooked mussels and Mexican 



beer, the bicycle slung above the little 
bar. The walls inside were shingled 
with picture postcards. Nights, he 
slept curled behind the bar. One morn- 
ing the place was gone, Fass with it, 
just a broken shackle swinging in the 
wind and a few splinters of timber still 
adhering to the galvanized iron wall of 
a barber shop. People came, stood'at 
the edge, looked down at the water be- 
tween the toes of their shoes. 

The girl asks him if he's hungry. He 
says no. Asks him if he's eaten. He 
says no. She opens the tin foot chest 
and sorts through cans. He watches her 
pump the Coleman. 

He says open the window a crack. 
The circular window pivots in its oak 
frame. Gotta eat, she says, 

She'd like to tell him about going to the 
hotel but she doesn't have words for 
how it made her feel. She feeds him 
soup, a spoonful at a time. Helps him 
to the tankless old china toilet behind 
the faded roses of the chintz curtain. 
When he's done she draws water from 
the roof-tank line and pours it in. Gravi- 
ty does the rest. Thousands of flexible 
transparent lines are looped and bun- 
dled, down through the structure, pour- 
ing raw sewage into the bay. 
"Europe ..." she tries to begin. 



He looks up at her, mouth full of 
soup. 

She guesses his hair must've been 
blond once. He swallows the soup. "Eu- 
rope what?" Sometimes he'll snap 
right into focus like this, if she asks him 
a question, but now she's not sure 
what the question is. 

"Paris," he says, and his eyes tell her 
he's lost again, "I went there. London, 
too. Great Portland Street." He nods, 
satisfied somehow. "Before the devalua- 
tion ..." Wind sighs past the window. 
She thinks about climbing out on the 
roof. The rungs up to the hatch there 
are carved out of sections of two-by- 
four, painted the same white as the 
walls. He uses one for a towel rack. 
Undo the bolt. You raise the hatch with 
your head; Your eyes are level with 
gull shit. Nothing there, really. Flat 
tarpaper roof, a couple of two-by-four 
uprights: One flies a tattered Confed- 
erate flag, the other a faded orange 
windsock. 

When he's asleep again, she closes 
the Coleman, "scrubs out the pot, wash- 
es the spoon, pours the soupy water 
down the toilet, wipes pot and spoon, 
puts them away. Pulls on her hightop 
sneakers, laces them up. She puts on 
his jacket and checks that the knife's 
still clipped behind her belt. 




"I think this would 'be a good lime to end our session." 



She lifts the hatch in the floor and 
climbs through, finding the first rungs 
of the ladder with her feet. She lowers 
the hatch closed, careful not to wake 
him. She climbs down past the riveted 
face of the tower, to the waiting yellow 
basket of the elevator. Looking up, she 
sees the vast cable there, where it 
swoops out of the bottom of Skinner's 
room, vanishing through a taut and glow- 
ing wall of milky plastic film, a green- 
house; halogen bulbs throw spiky 
plant shadows on the plastic. 

' The elevator whines, creeping down 
the face of the tower, beside the ladder 
she doesn't use anymore, past a patch- 
work of plastic, plywood, sections of 
enameled steel stitched together from 
the skins of dead refrigerators. At the 
bottom of the fat-toothed track, she 
climbs out. She sees the man Skinner 
calls the African coming toward her 
along the catwalk, bearlike shoulders 
hunched in a ragged tweed overcoat. 
He carries a meter of some kind, a 
black box, dangling red and black 
wires tipped with alligator clips. The bro- 
ken plastic frames of his glasses have 
been mended with silver duct tape. He 
smiles shyly as he eases past her, mut- 
tering something about brushes. 

She rides another elevator, a bare 
steel cage, down to the first deck. She 



walks in the direction of Oakland, past know about that?" 
racks of old clothes and blankets "No." 
spread with the negotiable detritus of 
the city. 



She finds Maria Paz in a coffee shop 
with windows on the bay's gray dawn. 
The room has the texture of an old fer- 
ry, dark dented varnish over plain heavy 
wood. As though someone's sawn it 
from a tired public vessel, lashing to the 
outermost edge of the structure. (Near- 
er Oakland, the wingless corpse of a 
747 houses the kitchens of nine Thai 
restaurants.) 

Maria Paz has eyes [ike slate and a 
tattoo of a blue swallow on the inside of 
her left ankle. Maria Paz smokes 
Kools, one after another, lighting them 
with a brushed chrome Zippo she 
takes from her purse. Each time she 
flicks it open, a sharp whiff of benzene 
cuts across the warm smells of coffee 
and scrambled eggs. 

She sits with Maria Paz, drinks cof- 
fee, watches her smoke Kools. She 
tells Maria Paz about Skinner. 

"How old is he?" she asks. 

"Old ... I don't know." 

"And he lives over the cable saddle 
on the first tower?" 



"Yes." 

"The. tops of the towers . 



. you 



"Why did they?" 

Maria Paz looks at he/ over the Zip- 
po. "Nowhere to live. Bridge closed to 
traffic three years ..." 

"Traffic?" 

Maria Paz laughs. "Too many cars. 
Dug them tunnels under the bay. For 
cars, for maglevs . . . bridge too old. 
Closed it before the devaluations. No 
money. One night the people came. No 
plan, no signal. Just came. Climbed the 
chain link. Chain link fell. Threw the con- 
crete in the bay. Climbed the towers. 
Dawn came, they were here, on the 
bridge, singing, and the cities saw the 
world was watching. Japanese airlift, 
food and medical. National embarrass- 
ment. Forget the water cannons, sorry." 
Maria Paz smiles. 

"Skinner? You think he came then?" 

"Maybe, he's old as you think. How 
long you been on the bridge?" 

"Three months?" 

"I was "born here," says Maria Paz. 

The cities had their own pressing diffi- 
culties. Not an easy century, America 
quite clearly in decline and the very con- 
cept of nation-states called increasing- 




"A day without being put on 'hold' please." 



ly into question. The squatters were al- 
lowed to remain. Among their numbers 
were entrepreneurs, natural politicians, 
artists, men and women of untapped en- 
ergy and talent. The world watched as 
they began to build. Shipments of ad- 
vanced adhesives arrived from Japan. 
A Belgian manufacturer donated a boat- 
load of carbon-fiber beams. Teams of 
scavengers rolled through the cities on 
broken flatbeds, returning to the 
bridge piled high with discarded build- 
ing materials. 

. The bridge and its inhabitants be- 
came a tourist attraction. 

She walks back in the early light that fil- 
ters through windows, through sheets 
of wind-shivered plastic. The bridge nev- 
er sleeps, but this is a quiet time. A man 
is arranging fish on a bed of shaved ice 
in a wooden cart. The pavement be- 
neath her feet is covered with gum wrap- 
pers and the flattened filters of ciga- 
rettes. A drunk is singing somewhere 
overhead. Maria Paz left with a man, 
someone she'd been waiting for. 

She thinks about the story and tries 
to imagine Skinner there, the night 
they took the bridge, young then, his 
leather jacket new and glossy. 

She thinks about the Europeans in 
the hotel on Geary. 



She reaches the first elevator, the 
cage,, and leans back against its bars 
as it rises up its patched tunnel, where 
the private lives of her neighbors are 
walled away in tiny handmade spaces. 
Stepping from the cage, she sees the 
African squatting in his tweed overcoat 
in the light cast by a caged bulb on a 
long yellow extension cord, the motor 
of his elevator spread out around him 
on fresh sheets of newsprint. He looks 
up at her apologetically. 

"Adjusting the brushes," he says. 

"I'll climb." She goes up the ladder. 
Always keep one hand and one foot on 
the ladder, Skinner told her, don't think 
about where you are and don't look 
down, it's a long climb, up toward the 
smooth sweep of cable. Skinner 
must've done it thousands of times, un- 
counted, unthinking. She reaches the 
top of this ladder, makes a careful trans- 
fer to the second, the short one, that 
leads to his room. 

He's there, of course, asleep, when 
she scrambles up through the hatch. 
She tries to move as quietly as she can, 
but the jingle of the jacket's chrome hard- 
ware disturbs him, or reaches him in his 
dream, because he calls something 
out, voice thick with sleep. It might be 
a woman's name, she thinks. It certainly 
isn't hers. 



In Skinner's dream now they all run for- 
ward, and the police are hesitating, fall- 
ing back. Overhead the steady drum of 
the network helicopters with their lights 
and cameras. Thin rain falls as Skinner 
locks his cold fingers in the chain link 
and starts to climb. Be'hind him a roar 
goes up, drowning the bullhorns of the 
police and the National Guard, and Skin- 
ner's climbing, kicking the narrow toes 
of his boots into chain link as though 
he's gone suddenly weightless — float- 
ing up, really, rising on the crowd's 
roar, the ragged cheer torn from all 
their lungs. He's there, at the top, for 
one interminable instant. He jumps. 
He's the first. He's on the bridge, run- 
ning, running toward Oakland, as the 
chain link crashes behind him, his 
cheeks wet with rain. 

And somewhere off in the night, on 
the Oakland side, another fence falls, 
and they meet, these two lost armies, 
and flow together as one, and huddle 
there, at the bridge's center, their 
arms around one another, singing 
ragged wordless hymns. 

At dawn, the first climbers begin to 
scale the towers. 

Skinner is with them. 

She's brewing coffee on the Coleman 
when she sees him open his eyes 




"I thought you'd gone," he says. 

"I took a walk. I'm not going any- 
where. There's coffee." 

He smiled, eyes sliding out of focus. 
"I was dreaming ..." 

"Dreaming what?" 

"I don't remember ... we were sing- 
ing. In the rain ..." 

She brings him coffee in the heavy 
china cup he likes, holds it, helps him 
drink "Skinner, were you here when 
they came from the cities? When they 
took the bridge?" 

He looks up at her with a strange ex- 
pression. His eyes widen. He coughs 
on the coffee, wipes his mouth with the 
back of his hand. "Yes," he says, "yes. 
In the rain. We were singing. I remem- 
ber that." 

"Did you build this place, Skinner? 
This room? Do you remember?" 

"No," he says, "no . . . sometimes I 
don't remember ... we climbed. Up. 
We climbed up past the helicopters. We 
waved at them . , . some people fell 
... at the top. We got to the top ..." 

"What happened then?" 

He smiles. "The sun came out. We 
saw the city." DO 

Copyrigt ^hi- 

st appeared 
in the exhibition catalog V -n^ary San Fran- 
cisco, published by trie San Francisco Mu- 
seum of Modern Art. 



CREDITS 

PageS: W. E. Gutman; page 10: Ftetrt. p^g*; 
12 clockwise from top left She Sec u no a 
Juii- ':',c,"\o-, Dar~ i-iy-rii:^ ?.\s\ Socjr-cls 

:■■■.:.■■' ■ 

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= ";:;;<.:'Four by Five: page 24 center and 
bottom: Rob Houston: page 27: ©Roralc i 
Coh':/T"ie Goriii=. R;i.i:i;Jct on; page 28; 
John Barr.'Gan-irt-Liaison; page 30: Henner 

Ft- paae 32 ,!■■■■: ■■. ' ;. Animals; 

page 33: Micn-iei '-'<■■ nc/Sjjok ,V-:i ;-..:>: :■>■'■:■!>■ 

: . i ; i . ■ in ■.!■ ■ :. Hi ■ . ■ i ir: 

Woodworth/Superstoch; page 35 bottom. Ccrn- 
::l:;c-'. pane 36 lop. Ch-srieK S Aiis-ir/h-cac 
3«ri<. pa a si 35 bottom; l-lsr.rv Wbli/ .Tiaac 
Bank; page 38 top: Superstcck. Inc.; page 38 

borroi i.:\ i ■■'■■ ui..;page40 

left to right: C" ■ n- . : ■■! ■■■ ici. I ' "I.:. 

Sipa Tiara Obse'vy.orv Dennis Oda/ 
Sips. L.sr-v Raider, ; Si pa: page 42 bottom: 

..-^- c^ivi/SiM page 52; NASA; page 81: 
'.■V -.. G'.-ti'isn oag=s 82-83 far left and right: 
;,'<:■'■■ pages 82-83 center photos: 
Ou:ven:- r ii : |m..is= pages 84-85 far left and 
right: W.E. Gulmari; pages 84-85 center f^~ 
tos: Convenant House; pages 86-37 far 
and right: W. E. Gutman: pages 86-87 ce 

,r, „.. ■ i . , .. i 

P Gurran- page SB too riali:. i--.i i i ■ y.i -vv ■ 
ng/rv'aylerile pages 93-102: Petrus 
'■/■,■'.>,■■-..:] rev paae "Ob 1 1 ;- '■■■Vi-ite; page 106: 
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tom right 1 i i <<i ;:■■.■■■ -inne 118 top 

lefi:J : -e.:,;'jri!!%;:;o!"oany;page 118 top right: 
NCR; page 118 bottom: Doug Kramip: page 
1 19 top; Tandy; page 1 19 bottom left: The Learn- 
ing Company; page 119bottom right: Teennel 

: i ' !■ 

i.iil-E : i-::-r i Software; page 128: Daniel J. Dyck- 
man; page 136: Mark Wagner. 



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One of the world's great 

explorers and the father of underwater 

archaeology raises treasures 

from a Bronze Age shipwreck — the 

oldest one ever found — and 

celebrates some other raptures of the d 



iniTERVIEUU 






Late summer is not kind 
to College Station, 
Texas. But you'd nev- 
er know it in this office, 
where cold air pumps, as in a 
deep-sea bathysphere, giv- 
ing the room the cool sweet 
taste of compressed air 
from a scuba tank Volumes 
line the walls, great books 
of the ancient world that whis- 
per of lost secrets and hid- 
den treasures. There is some- 
thing at once mystical and 
scientific here, not unlike ex- 
ploring the depths of the 
ocean floor. It's no accident. 



A few months a year this 
home office is haven to the fa- 
ther of underwater archae- 
ology. For 30 years George 
Bass has lived with the 
challenge of uncovering the 
most precious sunken treas- 
ure of all: knowledge — histori- 
cal knowledge of Bronze 
Age mariners, Babylonian and 
Byzantine merchants. Egyp- 
tian pharaohs. Finding the old- 
est book on record is just one 
of his accomplishments. Indi- 
ana Jones got nothin' on him. 

Most of the time Bass 
works in the field. That could 



PHOTOGRAPHS BY HENNER PREFI 



be on or beneath any large body of 
water. But much of his research is in 
the seas off the coast of Turkey, 
where numerous ancient shipwrecks 
have yet to exhaust their mysteries. 

Bass is not the ancient mariner but 
a fit and youthful fifty-eight. When he 
was ten, he and his brother tried to 
make a diving helmet, which he nev- 
er tried out in the water. Even as a 
graduate student at the American 
School of Classical Studies in Athens, 
Bass admits he. never got around to 
actual diving, even though "I proba- 
bly had more books on diving than 
archaeology on my desk." In fact, he 
strapped a scuba tank on his back 
only once before his first major exca- 
vation in 1960. 

Yet he was "fated" for the work. 
With a master's degree in Near East- 
ern archaeology from Johns Hopkins, 
a Ph.D. in archaeology with a special- 
ty in the Bronze Age between 3000 
and 1000 B.C., and a desire to dive, 
he was the right man in the right 
place. In 1959 photojournalist Peter 
Throckmorton approached the Univer- 
sity of Pennsylvania, where Bass was 
a graduate student, with news he'd 
found a Bronze Age shipwreck. "We 
didn't know at the time," says Bass, 
"that it was going to change ideas 
about the entire relationship between 
the Mycenaeans, Bronze Age 
Greeks, and Phoenicians. If I hadn't 
had a background in Near Eastern 
and preclassical archaeology, I 
might not have realized the signifi- 
cance embodied in this wreck," 

In 1973 Bass founded the Institute 
of Nautical Archaeology, which later 
joined forces with Texas A&M Univer- 
sity. That's how an ocean explorer 
came to live in a Texas prairie town. 
Its elite graduate-level program in- 
cludes only around ten students a 
year, about a third of whom come 
from outside the United States. Bass 
remains an active and enthusiastic 
teacher, evaluated by students as 
one of the best. That honor, he says, 
ranks right up there with receiving the 
National Geographic Society Centenni- 
al Award, which recognizes him as 
one of the century's great explorers. 

He is currently excavating a four- 
teenth-century B.C. shipwreck at Ulu 
Burun, Turkey. The oldest known 
wreck in the world, it may represent 
a royal ship carrying copper, tin, 
gold, silver, ebony, glass, amber, and 
resins from one king to another. The 
vessel's loss in antiquity, Bass 
thinks, must have been devastating. 
— John Stein 




Omni: You really didn't learn scuba 
until a few weeks before your first 
trip to Turkey in 1960? 
Bass: The excavation of that ship- 
wreck off Cape Gelidonya led to my 
learning how to dive, and I thought it 
would be a one-summer lark. But 
there were two things that challenged 
me at the time. One was the site's his- 
torical significance. And now we're go- 
ing back there where we thought 
we'd excavated everything thirty 
years ago, and finding evidence we 
couldn't with more primitive equip- 
ment. The second thing was I figured 



out how we had to adapt normal 
land techniques to the underwater 
world. Throughout the Sixties I spent 
much more time thinking about div- 
ing technology than about archae- 
ology. Now I think almdst nothing 
about the technology. 
Omni: You've wrestled with finding a 
name for your field of study. You go 
from "underwater" to "nautical" archae- 
ology. Why? 

Bass: "Nautical" comes from the 
Greek word naos, meaning ship. And 
we specialize in studying ships, wheth- 
er they're underwater, under land, or 
in rivers. We now have specialists in 
hulls or rigging, whereas I deal main- 
ly with the cargoes and possessions 
of crew and passengers. In the early 
Sixties, in Archaeology Under Water, 
I said we don't call people jungle, or 
mountain or desert, archaeologists. 
The same should hold true for us, ex- 
cept for those who specialize in 
ships per se. I'm an "underwater" ar- 
chaeologist only in the sense that 
what I do is underwater. All of us who 
pioneered this field worked first in 
terrestrial archaeology, to which I re- 
turn from time to time, 
Omni: You are more interested, 
then, in ships than harbors, inland 
lakes or the wells at Chichen Itza? 
Bass: Yes. Our institute is excavating 
the sunken city of Port Royal, Jamai- 
ca, which went down in 1692 in an 
earthquake, but it's sort of an anom- 
aly. It's shallow, and therefore good 
training ground for our teams. We 
hope to continue there, but it's not nau- 
tical archaeology. 

Omni: Has the emotional strain of 
working underwater lessened over 
the years? 

Bass: It's not so adventurous as 
when we started out working from 
small fishing and sponge boats, or an 
old wooden barge that leaked badly. 
Now we have a steeHhulled tifty-five- 
foot vessel with a decompression 
chamber onboard. In the last several 
years we haven't missed a single 
dive, because on-site we have a full- 
time mechanic, captain, and physi- 
cian, I find it more pleasant working 
on an underwater site than on land. 
Mealtime conversations are more in- 
teresting because you have mechan- 
ics, physicians, and photographers 
and not just archaeologists who 
think archaeology all day, 
Bass: Do you find more valuable infor- 
mation underwater than on land? 
Bass: In some respects, yes. The 
wreck we're excavating now at Ulu Bu- 
run shows how often things have dis- 



OMNI 



appeared on land because they've 
been destroyed by humans. We have 
the earliest examples of tin and glass 
ingots found, and the first examples of 
ebony logs. We have six tons of cop- 
per ingots. All this raw material, and 
more, would have been manufactured 
into finished products or goods when 
it arrived in port and simply disap- 
peared without a trace. A century of ex- 
cavation in the Near East and through- 
out the Aegean yielded not a tin or 
glass ingot. We have dozens of them 
on this one wreck— plus the only gold 
scarab ever found of Nefertiti. Had 
that remained on land, it probably 
would have been melted down eventu- 
ally and made into something else. 

The Greeks regarded their bronze stat- 
ues as their highest works of art. Virtu- 
ally all we have came from the sea, most- 
ly pulled up in fishermen's nets or 
found by sponge divers rather than by 
archaeologists. Twenty-three years ago 
in Turkey, with side-scan sonar in our 
little two-person submarine, Asherah, 
we found a three-hundred-foot-deep 
wreck that had yielded three bronze stat- 
ues to fishermen's nets. Our photo- 
graphs suggest there are more bronze 
statues under the sand on this wreck. 
We hope to get back to it soon with 
deep diving, which requires mixed gas- 
es, like heliox, rather than just com- 
pressed air. 

Omni: Some of your colleagues have 
gotten the bends. Have you? 
Bass: In 1985 I had a very minor case, 
a bit of nagging pain in my elbow that 
disappeared in our decompression 
chamber. The same year we had the 
second serious case we've had in thir- 
ty years when our expedition physician 
was paralyzed from the waist down. He 
was treated and almost completely 
cured in the chamber. The one thing we 
had in common is that we were both in 
our fifties. When I began in 1960, I was 
the youngest member of the excava- 
tion; suddenly I realized I was the old- 
est. That's when I decided I'd been div- 
ing enough. 

The wreck at Ulu Burun is one hun- 
dred forty-five to one-eighty feet deep. 
I'm directing the project, but the 
fieldwork is directed by a graduate stu- 
dent. If we do another wreck, say, one 
hundred feet down, I'll work at that 
depth. For about a week every year, we 
return lo the site at Cape Gelidonya 
where I started. Other than that, I'm not 
diving anymore, 

Omni: Have you ever had panic set in 
at a site, because of equipment failure? 
Bass: In twenty-five years of very active 
diving, I was really only frightened 
once, and when I say frightened, I 
mean I thought the end was near. Be- , 

76 OMNI 



cause I'd done a land dig, I hadn't 
dived in three years. This was only the 
second or third dive and I hadn't 
planned it carefully, I was about one hun- 
dred fifty feet deep when I ran out of 
air. My reserve didn't work. Those 
were the years before we had see- 
through gauges where you always 
know how much air you have. My part- 
ner and I had split up. I would have 
drowned had he not noticed me and 
come to my assistance for buddy breath- 
ing when he saw me struggling toward 
the surface. 

We're a bit superstitious about our 
safety record, so we don't like to brag 
about it. We've had around fen thou- 
sand dives on just this most recent 
wreck. That's a lot of deep decompres- 
sion dives at one-forty- to one-eighty- 
feet depth. 

Omni: What is your most thrilling mo- 
ment underwater? 



60ur aim is to 

excavate one merchant ship 

from every century 

of antiquity. Then we'd 

move to warships, 

ferry and fishing boats. 

We'd tell the 

entire story of seafaring. 9 



Bass: I know you won't believe this, 
but — never. The hair-stands-up-on-the- 
back-of-my-neck excitement comes in 
the library at, say, three a.m. When I 
first went down at Ulu Burun I was think- 
ing, Where are we going to put the air- 
lift? How are we going to map it? With 
only twenty minutes, you don't have 
time to be overly romantic. I enjoy the 
feeling of being underwater, the free- 
dom. But diving is not where the excite- 
ment comes. We don't understand the 
significance of something when we 
find it. Even a gold medallion from the 
Bronze Agent's pretty, everybody 
wants to see it, but just finding it hasn't 
got that tingling excitement of suddenly 
realizing it means something important. 
Omni; How did your academic back- 
ground help on your first excavation? 
Bass: A Near Eastern archaeologist 
might have thought everything onboard 
was Near Eastern; a preclassical archae- 
ologist might have thought everything 
was Bronze Age Greek. With a back- 
ground in both, I saw the influence of 
Phoenician culture on Greek civilization 



in a completely new light. It changed 
ideas about trade; it even had an im- 
pact on our interpretation and dating of 
Homer. And we discovered the oldest 
"book" ever found, a wooden writing tab- 
let in a vase of pomegranates about 
five feet tall. We found not only seeds 
but parts of pomegranate skins. The 
book was probably sitting on the lid and 
someone hid it inside to keep it safe 
from the elements. 

Omni: Why at one point did you think 
about changing fields? 
Bass: I left underwater archaeology in 
1 969, when I spent time in a decompres- 
sion chamber with a dead sponge div- 
er who died while we were trying to 
treat him. And I thought, I don't want to 
stick around until I pull a dead friend 
from the water, So I didn't work in un- 
derwater archaeology for four years. I 
started a dry land dig in southern Italy, 
but as I worked there, I missed the ex- 
citement of finding whole objects rath- 
er than bits and pieces. We were try- 
ing to find out about the introduction of 
certain types of pottery and domestic 
animals into the region, I thought, If 
they came across the Adriatic from 
present-day Yugoslavia, there must be 
one shipwreck out there that's going to 
tell us as much as digging here year af- 
ter year. 

I missed the sea. There's something 
special about .working on the sea. And 
I especially missed the comradeship of 
the mixture of people who go into un- 
derwater archaeology. Anofher thing 
that made me go back to it was Eric 
Ryan, a dear friend who suffered an air 
embolism and never did regain full 
sensation down one part of his body. 
He told me I should go back to it, that 
it had all been worth it, that of course 
you can be safe if you just sit in your 
house all day, but there are things oth- 
er than that. 

Another reason I'd given it up was be- 
cause I was told by the chief of United 
States Navy salvage that I was running 
the largest diving operation in the 
world in 1969. No one, he said, had up 
to thirty divers going down one hundred 
thirty feel twice a day, six days a week 
for three months a year. I was doing 
this while teaching and publishing — 
without even a secretary. Well, what I 
did was form the Institute of Nautical 
Archaeology. Now I don't have to per- 
sonally buy all the equipment each 
year, end up with a hammer and nails 
packing it in crates, carry it on dollies 
to a rented truck, d.rive it to the ship, 
ship it to Turkey, and get it through cus- 
toms all by myself. 

Now the equipment is ordered by our 
mechanic in Turkey. Our boat is kept 
up by our captain, who is also a diver 

CON'i !NUE.:.' ON PAQE 108 



HYPERFICTION BY 
W. E..GUTMAN 

22:10 — A rank, sulfurous ha- 
lo hangs low over Manhat- 
tan. Driven by icy gusts, ten- 
taclelike fingers of swirling 
amber gases swoop toward 
the slime-slick pavement, 
probing deep behind yawn- 
ing doorways, arcades, and 




tropolis, for the thousand 
and one night creatures 
that stalk its streets, for the 
near living I will ferret out and 
kill. Fifteen years is a long 
time. I must speak out. 

It all came together a cen- 
tury ago with a salvo of state- 
ments and counterstate- 
ments tailored to help save 
political face while giving the 
citizenry the impression that 
justice was served. In time, 
words got sharper, less con- 
ciliatory, and violence, spo- 
radic and extemporaneous, 
grew bolder and deadlier 
with each secret municipal 
emergency meeting. 

No one protested. Not a 
single voice was heard. It 
was too late. Justice — like 
truth- — the stronger of two 
conflicting arguments, jus- 
tice, the paradox suspended 
on the point ot a sword, had 
put on its ugliest face. The La- 
dy had taken off her blind- 
fold and was winking lasciv- 
iously at the oligarchy. And 
the carnage began. 

Tis now open season, 
and the blood of children, 
thinner than water, coalesc- 
es with putrid rivulets of 
swill and excrement that hug 

ILLUSTRATION 

BYJOANIESCHWARZ 



In the Year of Our 

Lord 2091, open season on street 

children has been 

declared, and Lady Justice 

wears an ugly face 



■ 




IN THE LAND 
OF ETERNAL SPRING. 

WHERE DEATH IS 
OFTEN THE LIGHTER OF 

TWO SENTENCES, 
A GROWING NUMBER 



TO EVERLASTING 
HELL DY AGENTS 
OF THE STATE 




THE PHOTOGRAPHS ON THE FOLLOWING PAGES ARE SHOCKING. 

THEY ARE INTENDED TO BE. YOU MAY NOT WANT YOUR CHILDREN TO SEE 

HOW OTHER NATIONS TREAT THEIRS. 




OTHER PARTS 

OF THE 

WORLD." 

— THOMAS F. 

STROOCK. 

O.S. 

AMBASSADOR TO 

GUATEMALA 



| TEXT BY W. E. GUTMAH Dawn rises on Guatemala City's sixteenth-century cathedral, flushing the 
■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■ nave with shafts of spectral radiance and suffusing the marble altar and 

I colonnades, crystal chandeliers, richly carved gilt pulpit, and solid mahogany pews with a celebra- 

| tion of light over the forces of darkness. 

For Jorge, sunrise heralds the start of another perilous journey. He has just spent the night in a 

| fetid culvert girding the cathedral's northern flank, drowsing into a thin, turbulent sleep, one eye 
trained against the creeping shadows, a keen ear attentive to any sound louder than his heartbeat. 
Normally, Jorge beds down with his friends Pedro and Felipe under a pile of filthy rags, sharing 
scraps of food pilfered at an outdoor stall or recovered from the garbage pit. Normally, they huddle 
like newborn pups, seeking warmth, sharing a bag or two of cobbler's glue until the noxious fumes 
yank them from the grips of hunger, cold, and fear. But these are not normal times. Beatings, torture, 
sexual abuse, rape, and extrajudicial executions have been on the rise in Guatemala, and Jorge, 
Pedro, and Felipe have decided to split for a while, to disperse, to find safety not in numbers but in 

| solitude and stealth like hunted animals. 

Jorge's eyes are red, the pupils dilated, the eyelids puffy and moist. A yellowed cigarette butt dan- 



BILLY 
GRAHAM "IS TOD 

BDSVTO 

COMMENT ON THIS 

ISSUE." 

—THE BILLY 

GRAHAM 

EVANGELISTIC 

ASSOC. 



gles Irom a blistered lower lip. He reeks of sweat and urine and glue. "Un quetzal, Senor, dame u 
quetzal por favor [please give me a quetzal]" he ventures, conspicuously embarrassed. I stop, dig I 
into my pockets, averting his eyes. He does not fit the part but he has that look that mendicants and 
tramps have that is best unheeded, unacknowledged, a liquid gaze in which float the cadavers of 
hope, will, and purpose. I surrender all my change. It isn't much. I mumble an apology in broken 
Spanish and walk away. Jorge follows me, ambling along sideways like a crab, tugging gently at my 
sleeve. He wants to shake my hand. He needs to touch and be touched, with love not lechery, with 
reassurance not rancor. I pat a grimy cheek, drawing a nit-infested head toward my bosom. Jorge 
puts his arms around my waist and begins to weep. 'Torque to lloras? [Why do you weep?]" I ask. 
"Porque estoy en el intierno [Because I am in hell]," he tells me. Jorge dries a sea of bitter tears, 
blows into a small plastic bag lined with a sticky amber substance— cobbler's glue— then avidly 
breathes in the caustic fumes. A flood of words gushes forth. I don't understand them all but his | 
expression speaks volumes of the pain, the hopelessness, the cruel absurdity of life. 

Jorge is eleven. Pedro and Felipe are twelve and nine, respectively. They all look half their age. 
Life is cheap. They may never grow up. Or old. 



CHILDREN 

SLEEP 

IN DOORWAYS 

ON SIDEWALXS 
THROUGHOUT 



EVERY 

ENCOUNTER WITH 

AN ADULT 
CARRIES THE RISK 

OF ABUSE 

AND VIOLENCE. 

"THE DARK 




DAYS OF 
GUATEMALA'S 

DEATH 

SOUADS AND 

MASSACRES 

ARE 

NOT VET OVER." 

—NEW YORK 

CONGRESSMAN 

TED WEISS 





Eyewitnesses now in protective custody in North America, and graphic photography obtained by 
I Omni, confirm that Guatemala's ninos de la calls — children of the street — are being subjected to a 
I spree of tortures matched only by the Holy Inquisition. Many children were abducted, beaten, burned 
I with cigarettes, subjected to mock executions, and sexually assaulted. Some had their ears torn off 
I (they had heard too much), their tongues ripped out (they had spoken out), and their eyes gouged 
| (they had seen compromising deeds) before the merciful coup de grace was applied, generally a 
blow to the head or a bullet to the base of the neck. Others were pushed into the countless ravines 
that gird Guatemala City's shantytowns, stinking chasms littered with garbage and human waste, and 
patrolled by feral dogs and cats. It will not surprise the reader, therefore, that I set out for Guatemala — 
and carried out the better part of this assignment— strapped in a lightweight bulletproof vest oblig- 
ingly supplied by Point Blank Armor and aimed at protecting me not against crime lords or common 
| felons but soldiers and cops. 

While the Nineties have witnessed dramatic political changes that culminated in victories for human 
rights, violations continue to defile a world already crippled by war and disfigured by famine and 
| disease. "We've seen human rights take a backseat to trade or diplomatic concerns," said Amnesty 



International in releasing its 1991 report, "and become the casualty of political expediency." 

In Latin America, a region historically traumatized by social and political turmoil, branded by wild 
swings from dictatorship to anarchy and back, human rights violations are legion. And in Guatemala, 
a country kneaded by volcanic and seismic upheaval, where lush mountains and precipices and neat- 
ly cultivated escarpments join to form a lush landscape of extraordinary beauty, crimes against humani- 
ty often eclipse the excesses recorded in other parts of the world- 
Embarrassment, if not outrage, at Guatemala's apathy, at its unwillingness to address what has I 
begun to draw sharp public and press attention, at long last prompted the United States — Guatema- I 
la's military and economic godfather — to suspend weapons deliveries last December. Expressing | 
grave concern over what he termed "an escalating spree of violence, disappearances, and extrajudi- 
cial executions," Representative Jim McDermott (D., WA), one of a two-member congressional fact- 
finding team that toured Guatemala, told Omni at a press briefing that U.S. foreign policy in Central I 
America has been "an unending disaster. We've had a history of picking the wrong sides, of aiding I 
and abetting despotic regimes." Reminded that the United States is the only Western nation that re- I 
fuses to sign and ratify the 1989 UN Children's Rights Convention, Congressman McDermott, express- 




ins 

THE CHILDREN 

WHO PAY 

THE PRICE. THIS 

TRAGEDY 

MUST STOP." 

— ELIE WIISEL, 

NOBEL 
PEACE LAUREATE 



ing dismay, held out little hope for an imminent change of heart. 

Those at greatest risk are the children inhabiting the streets of Guatemala City. According to 
Bruce Harris, the tireless executive regional director of Casa Alianza, a charitable agency that works 
with street children, offering them shelter, food, clothing, counseling, medical attention, and legal 
support, "There are at least five thousand such kids, perhaps as many as twice that number — we 
may never know for sure," aged five. to eighteen, doomed to the sidewalks and rank alleyways of the 
capital. Many have been orphaned by the so-called 30-year-old counterinsurgency operation in the 
altiplano — the highlands— much of it funded and orchestrated by the United States. Some were aban- 
doned by parents no longer able to feed a growing number of hungry mouths. Countless others 
have fled a home life punctuated by deprivation, brutality, and sexual abuse. "For the hordes of kids 
that end up on the street," says Harris, "life turns into a sordid blend of boredom, reckless improvisation, 
and ever-present danger. Every encounter with an adult — sometimes even with their peers — carries 
the risk of exploitation, abuse, and violence. All are undernourished. All are in precarious health." 

Precocious and opportunistic, at once ubiquitous and invisible, los nifios de la calle scour open 
garbage dumps for food, sleep under parked cars, in doorways, and on sidewalks. Most survive by 



stealing, begging, and engaging in both homosexual and heterosexual prostitution. 

In- recent months, Amnesty International has recorded an escalating number of complaints of hu- 
man rights violations against Guatemala's street children, including harassment, threats, beatings, 
torture, "disappearances," and extrajudicial executions reportedly carried out by the police, who frequent- 
ly patrol the streets in plainclothes or pocket their badges to avoid identification, and agents of pri- 
vate security firms acting under license from the National Police and the Ministry of the Interior. 

An Amnesty International USA spokesperson told Omni that "the policemen involved in these abus- 
es," officers moonlighting as executioners on behalf of local municipalities and private businesses, 
"are seldom brought to justice, even more rarely tried, convicted, and imprisoned. We [Amnesty Inter- 
national] are very concerned at the delays, irregularities, and blatant reversals connected with official | 
inquiries. Children's rights have taken a backseat to trade or diplomatic concerns." 

Street children do commit petty crimes. They also sniff glue. Most are severely malnourished, and I 
the sensations induced by the glue help overcome hunger pangs and numb them against the chill 
of night. Over time, the fumes destroy brain cells and can cause death. They also produce hallu- 
cinations and the reckless courage to steal. 



IMMOLATING ITS 

CHILDREN, 

GUATEMALA MAY 

VERY WELL 

BE DEPRIVING 

ITSELF 
OF A FUTURE. 




THE ATLAS OF SHAME: 
CHILDREN'S RIGHTS VIOLATIONS WORLDWIDE 




There are more than 100 mil- 
lion street children around 
the world who live in fear ev- 
ery day of their lives. Accord- 
ing to Amnesty International, 
many of these children "dis- 
appear," are beaten, illegal- 
ly detained and confined, 
sexually exploited, tortured, 
and systematically killed by 
agents of the state. 
I ALBANIA: Beatings, torture, and confinement. 
I ARGENTINA: More than 200 children have "disap- 
I peared" since the late Seventies. 
~~t BOLIVIA: Illegal internment and torture. 
I BRAZIL: Nearly 460 children and adolescents 
| were killed by death squads last year 

~I CHAD: Illegal imprisonment and torture of chil- 
I dren related to "politically subversive" adults. 

U CHINA: Selling of child brides*. Children were 
I among the more than 1 ,000 people killed in Beijing 
| during the Tiananmen Square massacre. 

~~l EL SALVADOR: Disappearances, illegal deten- 
I tion ano extrajudicial executions carried out by 
both the military and the police. 
~~l GUATEMALA: See story, 
I IRAQ' More than 400 children have been de- 
h-isc by the police and the military without trial, 
>r|jrt:d and judicially or extrajudicially executed. 
ISRAEL/OCCUPIED TERRITORIES: Excessive 



force and beatings of young Palestinians. 
HI MAURITANIA: Beatings and executions. 
03 MYANMAR (formerly Burma): Beatings, torture, 
and extrajudicial executions. 
S3 NIGERIA: Executions of minors. 
ED PERU: Caught in the crossfire of war, hundreds I 
of Peruvian children, some as young as ten, have 
been killed by the army. 

m PHILIPPINES: Sexual exploitation and extraju- 
dicial executions. 

EB ROMANIA": Nazi-like forced increase in pop- 
ulation during the Ceausescu regime resulted, fol- I 
lowing the revolution, in thousands of orphaned and 
abandoned children, most of whom continue to | 
live in squalid conditions. 

EE3 SOUTH AFRICA: Harassment, illegal detention, 
beatings, torture, and extrajudicial executions. 
SE SRI LANKA: Sexual exploitation*, abductions, "dis- 
appearances," and illegal imprisonment. 
EE3 TAIWAN: Sexual exploitation." 
Effi THAILAND: Sexual exploitation." 
SI TURKEY: Beatings, illegal detention, and torture. 
m USA: Police brutality. The United States Supreme | 
Court has ruled that execution of juvenile offend- 
ers as young as sixteen is not specifically prohib- I 
ited in the Constitution. Twenty-four states current- 
ly permit executions of juveniles; 14 states currently I 
have such prisoners on death row. 

Sources: Amnesty International, "Author's sources. 



"Every year forty-two thousand chil- 
dren die of preventable or curable dis- 
eases in Guatemala. But nobody 
cares. Corruplion and inertia prevail," 
says Dr. Carlos Cossich Marquez, shak- 
ing a white head of close-cropped 
hair. Chief of pediatrics at Guatemala's 
General Hospital, Cossich sees lots of 
children in the course of a day. Many 
come from the streets. Some go direct- 
ly to the morgue. 

"Diarrhea, dehydration, parasitic and 
contagious diseases, severe upper and 
lower respiratory infections, we get 
them all," says Dr. Cossich. "We're al- 
so beginning to see infants with congen- 
ially contracted AIDS. Gonorrhea is 
spreading at an alarming rate." 

Dr. Cossich extends the fingers of his 
left hand and enumerates other startling 
statistics: There is only one doctor for 
every 1,400 inhabitants and only 36 hos- 
pitals in a country of 8.2 million people; 
52.5 percent are under the age of sev- 
enteen. Guatemala is the only country 
on the American continents lacking a 
pediatric hospital. Guatemala suffers a 
56.3 percent infant mortality rate. 
Eighty percent die because of inade- 
quate pediatric services. Out of every 
3,500 children who are treated for 
burns, only 700 survive. Of those, 70 per- 
cent are deformed or permanently hand- 



icapped. Dr. Cossich has run out of 

fingers., "...and when cholera crosses 
into Guatemala, as it soon will, the chil- 
dren — street children in particular — 
are doomed." 

Cossich also tends to the growing 
number of children caught in the web 
of violence that stretches across Gua- 
temala. "In addition to bullet wounds, 
punctures, and slashings sustained in 
the streets in the course of a day, we 
see an increasing number of battered 
children, children with severe burns, lac- 
erations, dislocations, and fractures sus- 
tained at the hands of their parents and 
other adults. 

"Malnutrition" — 85 percent of Guate- 
mala's children are chronically malnour- 
ished, according to Cossich — "in addi- 
tion to illiteracy, abject poverty, and un- 
sanitary conditions, can all be directly 
traced to a government that has abdi- 
cated one of its most fundamental re- 
sponsibilities: education. We have a 
long way to go," sighs Cossich. 

At the foot of the majestic Agua vol- 
cano rests a small cemetery with white- 
washed mausoleums and tired wood- 
en crosses bent by age and neglect. 
At the Casa Alianza plot, where the 
broken vestiges of youth and innocence 
are laid to rest, a simple marble tomb- 
stone for Nahaman Carmona Lopez 



says infinitely more about his death 
than about his brief existence, laconi- 
cally recording his final words: "I only 
wanted to be a child; they wouldn't 
let me." 

The thirteen-year-old Nahaman — he 
barely looked ten — died'last March af- 
ter four policemen found him and nine 
other street children, aged six to four- 
teen, sniffing glue. The officers, witness- 
es said, seized the glue and began pour- 
ing it over the children's heads. Naha- 
man resisted. The commanding officer 
yanked him to his feet by his ears, 
threw him back to the ground, and kick- 
ed him viciously in the stomach, ruptur- 
ing his liver and breaking six ribs. A 
friend of Nahaman's who had narrowly 
escaped the onslaught said that his 
screams of pain could be heard three 
blocks away. Screams, laughter, and 
howls are hard to tell apart in the dark- 
ened, slop-splattered alleyways of Gua- 
temala City. The police then abandoned 
the children, leaving Nahaman for 
dead curled up on the ground. 

When the children returned about 30 
minutes later, Nahaman had managed 
to move a few feet. He had lost bowel 
and bladder control. He was uncon- 
scious. Someone had covered him 
with paper flowers and a piece of 
white crepe, as is customary in Guate- 




WORLD OF ELECTRONIC GAMES 



QUIET ON THE SET: 
INTERACTION! 



BY KEITH FERRELL 



Over the past decade we 
have seen interactive elec- 
tronic entertainment evolve 
from simple black-and-white 
video games to full-color, 
stereo-sound, nearly full-mo- 
tion participatory "movies." 
More than ever before, the 
player becomes a part of the 
game she or he plays. 

And more than ever, "inter- 
active" becomes an accurate 
description of the process, 
rather than an item of mar- 
keting jargon. 

How far can "electronic 
games" go? In a series of 
"snapshots from the future," 
Omni looks at emerging 
technologies, the potential 
offered by increasingly am- 
bitious game designs, the 
future of interactive electron- 
ic entertainment. 

It's a bright future. A case 
can be made for en- 
tertainment designers and 
programmers being the 
most talented of all software 
artists. Certainly in the best 
games, there's an ease of 
use, a simplicity and ele- 
gance of design, that our 
word processing and spread- 
sheet designers would do 
well to emulate. 

More than that, there's a 
gathering sense in the en- 
tertainment software indus- 
try of whole new horizons 
being opened for develop- 
ment, electronic frontiers being read- 
ied for exploration. The great suc- 
cess enjoyed by both personal com- 
puter and video game console man- 
ufacturers has served to liberate the 
software industry. 

Software is what sells computers 
and video games; software is what 
appeals to consumers. 

The hardware manufacturers under- 
stand this, and each new generation 
of equipment makes possible more 
convincing illusions, more satisfying 
entertainments, more fulfilling diver- 




OMNI LOOKS AT EMERGING 

TECHNOLOGIES, THE POTENTIAL 

OFFERED BY INCREASINGLY 

AMBITIOUS GAME DESIGNS, AND THE 

FUTURE OF INTERACTIVE 

ELECTRONIC ENTERTAINMENT 



sions. And software designers love 
nothing better than pushing the edg- 
es of a technology. Depth of play — 
a game design's ability to continue 
delivering entertainment after the in- 
itial excitement subsides — is a hot ar- 
ea among designers. 

How do we enhance the illusion? 
How much can we do? How far can 
we go? Answers are beginning to 
emerge: Long-perceived limitations 
are tumbling. The walls between tel- 
evision and computers, movies and 
software, fiction on paper and elec- 



tronic storytelling, are com- 
ing down. 

And if it can't be done to- 
day, it will tomorrow. As the 
hardware side of the busi- 
ness focuses on the devel- 
opment of true multimedia 
products that merge televi- 
sion, high-quality audio, 
and sophisticated comput- 
er technologies into a seam- 
less whole, the boundaries 
of what constitutes an en- 
tertainment "reality" will vir- 
tually disappear. Participa- 
tory entertainments will 
emerge on a levei unimag- 
inable a decade ago. Indi- 
viduals will be able to 
choose their own preferred 
realities, their own electron- 
ic worlds of entertainment. 
You will be able to visit 
these worlds on your own, 
playing solo, or you can trav- 
el in groups. 

Those groups may be as 
small as two people vying 
against each other over a 
video game deck. Or as 
large as many thousands 
of on-line gamers playing 
through a telecommunica- 
tions net. "Have it your 
way" will take on whole new 
levels of meaning, 

information itself will be- 
come a vital aspect of 
game design. We will see a 
blurring of the lines be- 
tween entertainment and 
education: You'll be able to learn 
while you play, and play while you 
learn. There will be no "royal road" 
to learning, but the electronic road to 
education may be a little less steep. 
What does all of this mean? 
Where are our interactive playthings 
taking us? 

That's what this special section of 
Omni is all about. Call it a look 
ahead, a glance at what might be pos- 
sible. just a few years from now. 

Welcome to the Vtorld of Electron- 
ic Games. 



WORLD OF ELECTRONIC GAMES 



GRAND ILLUSIONS 

HAVE WE DISCOVERED 

HOW TO MAKE INTERACTIVE FICTION INTO 

INTERACTIVE WORKS OF ART? 



■ We are a bit more than a 
decade into the interactive 
entertainment revolution. 
Has it become an art form 
yet? Let's quibble and say: 
yes and no. 

Yes, emphatically so, in 
that we're seeing increasing 
numbers of games that rep- 
resent a specific point of 
view, that encapsulate a vi- 
sion of the world particular 
to an individual creator. 

To achieve a true interac- 
tive art requires the creation 
of new tools, new grammars, 
new approaches to entertain- 
ment aesthetics. Interface de- 
sign —the searc h for " : : ra ■■ "i s p ai - 
ency," for a breaking down of 
the barriers between electron- 
ic worlds and flesh-and- 
blood players — is the focus 
of constant research, refinement, and 
innovation. When we forget we have a 
joystick, mouse, or keyboard at hand, 
we are closer to entering a work of art 
than playing a video game. 

The best contemporary interactive 
game designers are seeking to en- 
hance their illusions by deepening 
the relationship between player and 
game. On a simple level, this in- 
volves options such as the ability to 
select gender and appearance for in- 
teractive characters. More sophisti- 
cated interactive dramas give play- 
ers the opportunity to create whole 
detailed biographies for themselves 
and their point-of-view character. 
Those biographies in turn affect the 
interactive character's relationship 
with other characters, and with the 
electronic world of the story. The di- 
lemma in this approach lies in the 
fact that when we read a traditional 
novel or watch a play or movie, we 
are able to step outside ourselves, 
to see and learn from the example 
and responses of others. Interactive 
fiction reflects, of necessity, our own 
choices, our own responses. We 
play out our electronic dramas be- 
fore an interactive mirror. 

Resolving this dilemma is perhaps 




the most significant challenge facing 
our electronic artists and storytellers. 
We will soon begin seeing some differ- 
ent types of interactive storytelling. 

Is it art yet? The answer is no, am- 
biguously so. 

Sofne of the ambiguity is techno- 
logical. Graphics, sound, motion: All 
must come together to create a' believ- 
able illusion. The goal, some feel, is 
interactive fiction as striking in image 
and sound as motion pictures. 
Achievement of that level of technol- 
ogy, at prices mass audiences can 
afford, lies no more than a decade 
in the future. 

But ambiguity flows from the cre- 
ators as well. Too often game design- 
ers undermine their accomplishment 
by inserting unnecessary and distract- 
ng asides into their work, "winking" at 
the audience and reminding them 
that, after all, it's only an electronic 
game. Imagine Scarlett O'Hara saying, 
"After all, tomorrow is another fiction- 
al day," and you get an idea of the 
dimensions of the problem. 

Even more grotesque, we encoun- 
ter too many games in which the play- 
er is teased — or insulted — for mak- 
ing the wrong decision, for losing the 
game. If that's the payoff, then the 



stakes are cheapened in 
retrospect. Respect for audi- 
ence is another essential as- 
pect of art that more game 
designers could acquire. 

What's needed above all 
is an infusion of aesthetic in- 
spiration fronr more tradition- 
al art forms: the painting, 
the novel, the opera, the 
play, the motion picture. 
Too many of our games be- 
tray the fact that their cre- 
ators are schooled primari- 
ly in other games. There 
are still more programmers 
than storytellers making inter- 
active fiction. Most charac- 
ters are blips on the 
screen rather than fully re- 
alized beings. Until that 
changes, we're unlikely to 
see interactive stories as 
memorable as their non-interactive 
predecessors. This is not to say that 
interactive art should mimic tradition- 
al forms. Far from it. What we're look- 
ing for is a new art form, one that 
learns from the past while inventing 
its own future. Motion pictures, still 
in their first century, have become 
the dominant art form of our age. Per- 
haps interactive art can go as far. Per- 
haps, coupling the rapidly increas- 
ing power of the computer with the 
insights and abilities of the artist, it 
can go farther. 

Even if interactivity doesn't be- 
come our dominant art form, it can 
become a full member of the artistic 
community. To do so, though, we 
must have interactive entertainments 
that can be judged by the very 
same standards as other forms of 
entertainment. Not the same criteria 
necessarily — times, not to mention 
art forms and aesthetic expectations, 
do change. 

Plot, character, insight, story.. .art 
These are the real worlds for our in- 
teractive creators to explore. These 
are the aspects of artistic creation 
that will finally propel interactive en- 
tertainment out of its infancy and in- 
to adulthood. — Keith Ferrell 



Rule the 





WORLD OF ELECTRONIC GAMES 



VIDEO JUNKET JUNKIES 

INTERACTIVE PLOT LINES 

ALLOW YOU TO WATCH TALES ON TV THAT YOU 

CAN CHANGE TO SUIT YOURSELF 



■ You whisper "Don't go in 

fnere"under your breath as 
the movie's main character 
peers around a corner into 
a dark, and utterly danger- 
ous, place. "Don't be so stu- 
pid," you add as insur- 
ance, as if she could hear 
you from the couch and 
through the VCR, 

We're stuck with what film- 
makers give us. There's no 
way to change the action, 
force the players to strike 
out in new directions, or al- 
ter the ending to make it 
more realistic and palata- 
ble, or even more maudlin. 
Linear plot lines take us 
from start to finish; if the 
director, actors, and cinema- 
tographer are good we may 
forget about the real world 
for a couple of hours. If 
they're not, we can't do 
much about it but walk out. 

Home entertainment of 
the late Nineties may 
change all that and motion 
picture storytelling in the 
process. Courtesy of the 
enormous storage capacity 
possible by the end of the 
decade, we'll watch tales 
on the television that we can 
change to suit ourselves. 

The key doesn't lie in silicon but 
in crystal. New methods to store im- 
mense amounts of digital information 
are now working their way through re- 
search labs, heading for commercial 
and even consumer applications by 
the turn of the century. By shining la- 
ser light through a photoreactive crys- 
tal, these memory makers can re- 
cord data in three-dimensional pat- 
terns of light and darkness. Such hol- 
ographic storage crystals may hold 
as many as a trillion bytes, enough 
to fill a stack of computer discs four 
miles high, enough to store a feature 
film in HDTV format. 

Stuck in a cartridge no bigger 
than the video game cartridges that 
you now slide into a game deck, hoi— 

OMNI 




ographic memory crystals are also 

blazing fast, retrieving data in huge 
chunks, fast enough for full-motion vid- 
eo and film. With that much elbow- 
room, innovative directors could cre- 
ate the first interactive films, with mul- 
tiple — and certainly intertwining — 
threads of plot. Like their role-play- 
ing and adventure computer game 
forebears, interactive videos will let 
you pick and choose the direction, 
if not the outcome, of the story. At cru- 
cial plot junctions — you never know 
where they are, but part of the fun is 
in finding them — you can turn your 
character from one plot direction and 
into another, or even change points 
of view. Shoot now or run away. Say 
farewell or stay. Switch to the villain's 
role, or is he a villain after all? When 
you think there's a diversion ahead, 



press the controller. Up 
pops a list of choices, or a 
narrator's voice gives you 
the options. 

This style of moviemak- 
ing demands a revolution- 
ary change in storytelling. 
Simple plots will mark the 
first efforts, if only because 
the footage needed for the 
alternative tracks eats up 
space that might ordinarily 
go to complicating the 
tale. Taking their cue from 
interactive game designers, 
directors and screenwriters 
will build adventures that 
make viewers eager to 
assume a primary role. Stor- 
ies of suspense, mystery, 
crime, and fantasy will like- 
ly lead. off. Pornography 
won't be far behind. 

Interactive videos may 
still have a single ending — 
most computer role-playing 
games do now, after all — 
but the route you take to 
that ending may differ wild- 
ly from your neighbor's. 

Even such peripheral 
issues as video rentals 
would be affected. Since it 
might take half a dozen rent- 
als to puzzle out the entire story, you 
might simply buy the thing instead. 
That makes sense in economic 
terms, too, since such films are strict- 
ly for the home. No one will sit in a 
theater and put up with someone 
else's choices when he can head 
home and watch his own movie. 

In some ways, the digitization of 
America will let all of us become 
film directors, ordering story chang- 
es and altering actors' movements. 
Not all movies will be in such form — 
few will at first— but enough to give 
us a taste of the power that people 
like John Huston, Orson Welles, and 
Steven Spielberg have enjoyed. 

Once we've sampled that wine, it 
may be a long time before we sit pas- 
sively in a'darkened theater again, 
— Gregg Keizer 



Mm 




A NEW WIZARDRY 

A Ten years ago. Wizardry set the standards in 

^| FRP. Now. after two million copies have been sold 

ds have been won, 

uusmiu ruryt; raises and redefines 

lards. This new Wizardry, the truest 

sy Role Playing, will 

mputer, your mind and your sen; 

\of adventure to their very limits. 
True FRP Simulation! 
Like atrue game master. Bane of the Cosmic 
Forge rolls the dice, consults its charts and 
applies the rules. From the 400 items of armor 



\ right down to their weights - to the realistic 
— - incorporating Primary and 
^-everything, absolutely 

Iculated. 

\ Full-Color, Animated Graphics! 
You'll see swords swinging before your 
eyes; creatures of all shapes and forms will 
move before you,- spells coming from your 
magician will swirl through the air. You'll 
walk under gargoyle-laden arches and 
watch candles flicker in their sconces. 
Your PC's internal speaker will play 
igitized sounds without any add-on 
. . .swords swinging, monsters' — ,; 
;r and spells letting fly. 

Uncompromising Variety! 

• 11 Races 

• 14 Professions with Ranks 

• Dozens of Weaponry, Physical and 
Academia skills 



ellbooks. 462 spell combinations 
• Multiple Armor Classes 

Artificial Intelligence! 

Find the ancient and cryptic dwellers who can aid 
you in your quest. Talk to them as you would your 
friends - in sentences. Only through the power of the 
latest in programming technology could the full 
dimensions of conversation this real be possible. 



SIR-TECH 



Now Available for: MS-DOS. Amiga & Macintosh 



FORLD OF ELECTRONIC GAMES 



WORLD OF ELECTRONIC GAMES 



The cocoon is nearly complete. Add 
another component or two to the 
rack, and your home entertainment 
center will provide fantastic worlds 
where all rules are off, where you de- 
cide how the story turns, where mu- 
sic and sound and pictures combine 
to amuse you in millions of new 
ways. All in the comfort and safety 
of your family room. No lines, no 
long drive, no dark corners. 

The missing element? A comput- 
er in disguise. By the middle of the 
decade, no home rec room will be 
finished without a black box that's 
part computer, part video game ma- 
chine, part compact disc player, and 
part telephone. Set among a stereo 
receiver, high-definition television, 
speakers, and VCR, this box is the 
brains behind home electronics. 

Nearly a third of American homes 
already have its ancestor cabled to 
their television sets. Nintendo, Sega, 
NEC, and SNK are the names on box- 
es today. Tomorrow those names 
may be joined by Sony, Tandy, Phil- 



RACK 'EM 

UP 

IN YOUR REC 

ROOM 

BA5H HEADS, BOP 

THROUGH 

MAZES, AND BARREL 

DOWN 

RACETRACKS 

WITH 

YOUR REMOTE 

CONTROL 

ips, Zenith, Matsushita, IBM, Commo- 
dore, and Apple. What seems sophis- 
ticated today— hundreds of colors, 
fast-moving images, and cartridges 
jammed with silicon chips— will look 
primordial in four years. 

The core of tomorrow's home thea- 
ter and arcade is a multimedia person- 



al computer that looks nothing like a 
PC: It's a pizza-sized box two inch- 
es thick, with no keyboard in sight. 
Though it may have cut the technolog- 
ical edge four years earlier, now it's 
simply inexpensive. Equipped with 
stereo sound and 256-color graph- 
ics, this faux PC not only plays your 
high-end simulation-style games but 
manages the entire center at the 
same time. It also doubles as your 
home PC, linking small terminals 
throughout the house for office 
work, personal finance, and the 
kids' schoolwork. 

Touch a switch and a CD drawer 
slides out. No albums in here, 
though, but video games on com- 
pact discs instead. Full-length sagas 
that set you role-playing through dun- 
geons or on alien planets. Murdei 
mysteries where you're the star de- 
tective, with unknown actors in sup- 
porting roles. Or time travel to Cust- 
er's Little Bighorn, Nero's Rome, and 
Henry's Agincourt. All feature video 
snippets nearly as smooth as a mo- 



tion picture. You change the story at 
critical junctures by pressing a few 
burtons on a pad that looks like a 
television remote control. 

By the late Nineties, a few daring 
filmmakers have ventured into inter- 
active cinema for the home, produc- 
ing brief video CDs that can be 
played half a dozen times before al- 
ternatives are exhausted. Their 
works sell briskly, if only because 
game publishers still haven't discov- 
ered the story subtleties that movies 
have honed for half a century. Your 
center plays these films, too, and 
lets you switch viewpoints and 
shunt the story toward a new ending. 

Arcade games play in the home, 
too. Specialized video game ma- 
chines connect to the system's cen- 
tral brain to play the descendants of 
today's driving, shooting, and jump- 
ing games. Shove the slender cred- 
it card-sized cartridges in the video 
machine, grab the same controller 
thai you use to play CD games, and 
you're bashing heads, bopping 




through mazes, and barreling down 
racetracks. Nearly all are retreads of 
popular standup arcade games. In 
fact, you can take the flat cartridge 
to the mall, play a few rounds, save 
your game, and then finish at home. 
But you don't have to play against 
just the computer. Your home arcade 



dials up opponents by telephone. Sev- 
eral electronic game networks sport 
thousands of subscribers, who visit 
waiting areas and challenge others 
to one-on-one or multi-player bouts. 
In a matter of moments you can as- 
semble enough on-line players to out- 
fit a flight of jets or link up with a 
friend down the block or across 
town for some two-player football. In 
some cities you can even dial an ar- 
cade and play head-to-head against 
almost any machine. Your opponent 
may be dropping in dollars, but 
you're only paying for the call. 

The home amusement cocoon of 
1995 can compete against most out- 
side entertainment, whether movies 
or music, because nothing stacks 
up against the make-believe uni- 
verse you can create with computer 
and video games. The fastest-grow- 
ing art form of the decade — one 
that attracts emigrants from film, an- 
imation, and fiction— games are 
ready to take on the twenty-first cen- 
tury. Are you? — Gregg Keizer 



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fORLD OF ELECTRONIC GAMES 



THE ELECTRIC BODY POLITIC 

YOU AND YOUR TELEVISION 

BECOME STRANGE BEDFELLOWS IN THE 

DIPLOMATIC GAMES PEOPLE PLAY 



. If politics makes strange bedfellows, 
then computers are drawing up the 
sheets. Already used by pundits and 
pollsters, politicians and their parties, 
computers tell us who's on first, 
point out the crucial issues, and call 
elections long before the last vote's 
cast. Why not put them to some 
good use and have them turn poli- 
tics into a real entertainment form? 
Re-creating politics on your 
home amusement system won't be 
easy. Distilling political science to a 
set of computer algorithms is notori- 
ously difficult, especially if you ex- 
pect everyone to agree with your 
assumptions. But game designers 

have probed the 

body politic with 
works that reduced 
detente to a danger- 
ous two-step and 
shrank banana repub- 
lic machinations to a 
three-way toss-up be- 
tween left, moder- 
ate, and right. By the 
middle of the dec- 
ade, political simula- 
tions will be more so- 
phisticated, if no 
less' opinionated. 

Few things match 
the feeding frenzy of 
American presiden- 
tial elections for com- 
edy, drama, and de- 
ceit. Putting that on your home tele- 
vision screen — with you able to de- 
cide the next step or plan the next 
campaign — may reduce our politics 
to a simplified version of reality, but 
then, isn't that what television does 
already? By the 1996 election, you'll 
be able to play along at home, cour- 
tesy of some smart game designer. 
You'll get the basics, from fund-rais- 
ing to buying TV time, but you'll also 
have the freedom to make it up as 
you go along, Want to smear the op- 
position with a timely leak about an 
extramarital affair? Want to hit back 
with allegations of draft dodging? Go 
ahead, it's just a game. A great role- 
playing game. 

) OMNI 



Or you can fry larger fish and 
take on the New World Order elec- 
tronic construction set. The Soviet Un- 
ion may have dissolved like so 
much Wicked Witch, but you've still 
got foreign aid to hand out. Third 
World wars to fight, and natural re- 
sources to retain. Before you set 
your home entertainment center's 
CD spinning, you pull down the lat- 
est game stats and formulas from the 
publisher's computer so that you 
start ptaying from today, not yester- 
day. You can even save the game, 
post your positions and predictions 
for all to see, and hope the real 
news matches yours in a month or 



2&RHK 



two. Imagine — millions of political ex- 
perts prognosticating about future 
turns of events. We might discover 
that we know as much as the talking 
heads on CNN. 

We may even turn into a country 
of peacemakers. Tranquillity in the 
Middle East may have eluded nine 
presidents, but maybe you can do a 
better job. Using advanced artificial 
intelligence, a computer game 
could put you in the shoes of the sec- 
retary-general of the United Nations, 
bargaining and negotiating with the 
computerized rulers of Israel, Syria, 
Egypt, Iraq, Iran, and every other play- 
er in the world's worst flash point. 
Threaten sanctions and Saddam's 



evil electronic twin may laugh in 
your face, Offer land for peace at the 
right price and the computer Israel- 
is may give you the nod. 

Coups and revolutions can come 
home, too. Video and computer 
games will re-create the dissolution 
of the USSR and its eventual recon- 
struction as the Soviet Republic. Ev- 
erything from the 1991 coup and ec- 
onomic rebirth to possible civil war 
and anarchy will chart a course on 
your TV screen. It may not be histo- 
ry, but it'll be grand entertainment. 

Future politics would work just as 
weil. What if the United States frac- 
tures along Balkanized lines? Does 
the federal govern- 
ment go to war a sec- 
ond time to hold the 
Union together? In a 
computer re-crea- 
tion you can find out 
without harming a 
soul. Space civics 
can be just as enlight- 
ening. In a solar sys- 
tem where Mars and 
the moon have 
been colonized and 
Jupiter's satellites ex- 
plored and exploit- 
ed, what will be the 
burning political is- 
sues? At your home 
entertainment cen- 
ter, you can dabble 
in treaties, boycotts, and blockades 
on an interplanetary scale. But why 
stop there? Most science-fiction 
games are simple excuses for ar- 
cade shoot-'em-ups. Why not make 
real aliens with cultures so. ..so ali- 
en, ..that just communicating is a 
chore? Add conflict and you've got 
the perfect mix for stellar diplomacy, 
Games like these have the poten- 
tial for entertainment as well as edu- 
cation. If we find it hard to win in a 
computer or video political game, we 
may develop sympathy for the real 
politicos. Or pay a bit more attention 
to what they're really doing. 

It may be the best thing that ever 
happened to politics.— Gregg Keizer 



THE 1991 DEMO Power p a k 

A NEW SOFTWARE DEMO EXPERIENCE! 

PREVIEW-AND PLAY-OVER $200 WORTH OF THE LATEST GAMING SOFTWARE! 

The 1991 Demo Powerpak is no ordinary software sampler. It lets you experience each game 

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The 1991 Demo Powerpok includes playable previews of: 




MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE* 

Enter the world of spies and Intrigue 
in this new adventure offering from 

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don disguises, as you try to stop an 

underworld plot to topple the 

government! 



DANCER ZONE-HEAD TO HEAD 
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A new flight simulation experience 
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cam, "and fly missions solo or in 
simultaneous, two-player split screen! 






M 





MARTIAN MEMORANDUM 

Private eye Tex Murphy is back In a 

hilarious new interactive movie 
adventure from Access Software, For 
the first time, players will be able to 
interact with full motion video charac- 
ters on a disk- based product, as they 

help Tex face murder, romance, 

deception, and prophecy from present 

day San Francisco to the year 2039. 



WORDTRIS 

A new challenge from the TETRIS 

people at Spectrum HoloByte, The fast 

action, falling blocks now have 

letters on them, which players try to 

form into words. Time is of the 
essence as you try to maneuver letter 
flies to spell words, as they fall from 
the top of the screen Into the well. If 
you like TETRIS, you'll love WORDTRIS. 



FACES...TRIS III 

You'll meet some pretty strange 
characters playing this addicting Soviet 
mind-teaser from Spectrum Holobyte. 

Falling block pieces of famous and 
not-so-famous faces must be stacked 

In the proper order (mouth to chin, 

eyes to nose ) to form complete faces. 

Remember there are no points for 

"double chins' In this game! 



You'll also receive a complete, ready-to-run version of "Best PC Games" as a special 

bonus, This disk contains 9 challenging gomes! There are also discount coupons enclosed with each 

1991 Demo Powerpok to use toward the purchase of your favorite PC products, 



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/ORLD OF ELECTRONIC GAMES 



WORLDS OF WONDER 

SPEND THE DAY SAILING WITH 

COLUMBUS, FROLICKING WITH A TYRANNOSAUR, OR 

CHASING AMERICA'S MOST WANTED 



- You're never too old to play 
pretend. Everyone likes io 
lose himself, and a few 
hours, in the imagination of 
a moviemaker or writer. Pre- 
tend play lets us step out- 
side the mundane and prac- 
tical into the exciting and 
impossible. No little sur- 
prise, then, that one of the 
most popular ways to play 
with a computer is through 
worlds of make-believe. 

Simulations, as these re- 
creations are often called, al- 
ready reproduce the intri- 
cate workings of an ant col- 
ony, a city, even the entire 
planet. But as computer 
and video game machines 
power up in the next few 
years, expect simulations to 
follow suit, bringing even 
more impressive '■oauiios to your tele- 
vision screen. 

Historical replicas, long a main- 
stay of computer simulations, will 
take on new dimensions. Though mil- 
itary simulations will continue to 
draw an audience, those with more 
direct learning connections will find 
a place on more home entertainment 
systems. You and your kids will .be 
able to retrace the steps of the most 
famous explorers. Retouched video 
returns the scenery to its pristine 
state, while period maps and pro- 
fessional narrators provide color and 
commentary. The experience — wheth- 
er you're alongside Lewis and 
Clark, Sir Richard Burton, Columbus, 
or Cortes — puts you in charge, lets 
you make the decisions from start to 
finish, and makes you live with the 
consequences. Can you take Magel- 
lan's place and still circumnavigate 
the globe? What would it take for 
you, as Robert Scott, to beat Amund- 
sen to the South Pole? 

Nature, too, can be confined to 
the safety of the home arcade of 
the mid-Nineties. First to appear will 
be sophisticated weather models. 
Just as current simulations let you 
mess around with cities, these pro- 

? OMNI 




grams will let you play with the cli- 
mate. Create cold fronts and send 
them barreling out of Canada. Mix 
air masses over the Mississippi and 
watch tornadoes form over the 
Plains. Hurricanes, too, are just a key 
press away. Form them from tropical 
depressions, and by adding just a 
touch more heat io the ocean waters, 
turn them into raging monsters that 
eat up the Atlantic seaboard. 

Astrophysics is beyond most of 
us, but we'd love to build black 
holes, make stars go nova, or put 
two galaxies on a collision course. 
Super space simulations make it pos- 
sible. Simulating science fiction may 
seem like a contradiction — after all, 
SF isn't even real — but it'll draw play- 
ers, too. Imagine an in-depth treat- 
ment of planetary exploration, with 
extras from sensor scan interpreta- 
tions and orbital observations to land- 
fall and the inevitable search for life. 
Each new planet or system in the 
series would be released on a new 
compact disc or cartridge for a never- 
ending simulation. 

Why stop at alien worlds? Why not 
mimiclife with your computerized 
amusement park? Some programs 
will take the broad approach and let 



you guide life as it devel- 
ops from single-cell crea- 
tures to intelligence. Others 
put you in the shoes — or 
paws or claws — of specific 
creatures to see if you can 
survive the laws of the jun- 
gle. Try out a tyrannosaur 
for size, for instance, to see 
what it took to keep the ty- 
rant lizard on his feet. 

More simulations — all as 
much fun as educational' — 
will follow. Medicine won't 
be as mysterious once you 
have piloted a white blood 
cell through the blood- 
stream. Enhanced by actu- 
al footage from fiberoptic 
probes through arteries, 
veins, and the heart, your 
home arcade will add mon- 
strous microscopic invad- 
ers, herds of corpuscles, and 
enough current to really toss you 
around the body. 

Criminology is within the grasp of 
even the rankest detective when the 
computer or video machine lends a 
hand. Crimes — some based on real- 
hic cases — are up for grabs. Using 
the homicide squad's tools of fiber 
matching, fingerprinting, DNA exam- 
ination, witness reports, and the 
like, you have a chance to crack the 
case. It's even possible to put un- 
solved crimes on disc to turn millions 
into amateur investigators. 

Scores of other worlds may turn 
up on your home entertainment sys- 
tem. Almost anything can be con- 
densed to the size of a compact 
disc or cartridge, though lots may 
get lost in the translation. Nuclear 
power plant management, empire- 
building from Caesar to Victoria, and 
even archaeology can be distilled to 
the small screen. Add a bit of dra- 
ma and render the re-creation in near- 
photographic fashion with lots of 
sound effects, voice-overs, and pe- 
riod music, and you have an inter- 
active experience that's impossible 
to really live through. 

But you'll want to try. — Gregg Keizer 



F''VhERPP - 




K <jJ>L„: 










lilHl' 



**»«**« 



* 



^(W* 



"Major Wild Bill" Stealey, President of MicroProse. 



Real Pilots Don't Just Play F-15 
Strike Eagle, They Help Design It 



Meet "Major Wild Bill" Stealey: 

"Life for a fighter pilot is thai gut-wrenching adrenalin 
rush you get when going supersonic with heat-seeking 
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Colonel in trie United States Air Force Reserve (USAF). 



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Another Eastern Mock falls. 



There's a new TRlSon.the block. Its name is 
WORDTRIS. And if you love f ETRIS, this latest fast-action, 
falling block, Soviet game will boggle your mind. 
This time the falling pieces are letter blocks. Form them 
» into words and score points. As 
• each block falls, it pushes down 
I the blocks below, producing an 
I ever-changing kaleidoscope of 
I letters where scoring oppor- 
i tunities appear ■ and vanish - 
I at the blink of an eye. 

Create words horizontally or , 
" vertically but don'tput all your 
E's in one BASKET. Because 
every time a word lines up, poof! those letters disappear, 
and the blocks below pop up to fill the spaces. So when- 
ever you earn points you stir up the alphabet soup. And 
suddenly that falling M has no HOME to go to. 

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AnJTinnATTER 

UFO UPDATE: 

UFO researchers say their work involves endless stress and dep 
their families of time, energy, and love 




WhE 







Butthe UFOIogists \-'^-S - 
themselves say their | , --.■;■ :: .> ; V : '-. 
profession is costly 
and stressful, exacting an enormous toll on earning DC, office of Citizer 

:ity and family life. The pain and pressure of the has literally \ 
work, they say, is rarely mentioned on the talk show UFOs. Bryant, a Pe 
circuit or in UFO magazines. Stressful career prob- home 
is, for instance, have plagued investigator Rich- UFO 
the Nat 



apist David Gotlib re- 
ports similar strains. 
Gotlib spends hours 
providing therapy for 
abductees and also 



ers. Between the n 
letter and UFO confer- 



time." He deals with 
the pressure by reas- 
sessing his commit- 
ment to UFOIogy ev- 
ery six months. "I'll 



close down the 
letter," Gotlib 
"when I get a re 



d is now on the board of the Fund rating was improved on 
I, Says Hall, "UFOs on mv resume sands of dollars and fil 
e getting straigt 



pie University in Philadelphia, he can't find enough poti 

hours in the day for either activity. When push came notes, "bee 

to shove, Jacobs says, he chose to study abductions, tions or ulti 

But a senior member of his department at Temple in- G" 

formed him that he would have to go back to regular pen..^ ^., . . ; , ,.,,,.-.... 

historical scholarship it he "hoped to advance in his is critical because "the abduc 

j his fam- most important thing that ha 

.., .. ... .. jabreak. 



Mil 



AfUTIfUlATTER 



I SWORDID FEATS 



I age fifteen she contracted to b 



ve father, I attributed the poet's way led to curvature of the 



i healed. 
i British bio- 
| chemist David Young has 
d to vindi- 
I cate Elizabeth. After 



^» 



;houlder obviou: 
a famous portr 
enerally ca 



department of the Rad- 



practice. For a long time, 



clothes hid a hip deformity. I sword handle, like a toy 

DAN MANNIX CAN SWALLOW A SABER 

WITH A 26-INCH BLADE BECAUSE HE'S ESPECIALLY 

TALL. BUT HE LOST ONE COMPETITION TO 

A SHORTER SWORD SWALLOWER WHO WEIGHTED 

HIS STOMACH DOWN WITH A HEAVY MEAL. 



"reported on her painful 
paroxysms and muscle 
twitching. This eventually 



says, "is exactly that of 



artists train by swallowing 
a crude ball of wadding 
around a lead pill attached 
to a length of cotton." 



ngE 



ntic 



Four days before a 7 



unorthodox method. W 
'ryto 



. Berkland uses 
high high tides and low low 
tides to tell when an 
earthquake will occur, and 
the lost-pet classified i 
in local newspapers tc 
determine just howbigXhe 
quake will be and where it 
will hit. 

The Chinese have long 
studied animal behavior 
and tides to psych out 
earthquakes, and 
Berkland thinks they're 
right on. Indeed, just 
before the World Series 
quake, "the number of 
missing cats in the 

; reached twenty- 
seven, when normally 
there are only three or 
four," says Berkland, "and 
the number of missing 
dogs shot up to fifty-eight." 
The message from the 
animals could not have 
been more obvious. Two 
weeks before the quake 
two infant whales beached 
themselves on Ocean 
Beach in San Francisco 
a rare pygmy whale 
led up at Santa Cruz. 
Pigeon fanciers, noting 
their birds were flying the 
coop, had even canceled 
their races begi 
first of October. 

ite Berkland's suc- 
predicting the 



in Golden, Colorado, and 



we find that his results a: 
not significant" S 
years ago Hunger airec^ 
a full-time project evalu- 
ating earthquake predic- 
tions, and, says Hunger, 
"it died out from lack of 
success." 

But Berkland is deter- 
mined to go on. With the 
assistance of a Menlo 
Park entrepreneur, he has 
recently set up a monthly 
newsletter called Syzygy 
(14927 East Hills Drive, 

CA 951 27) and 
a telephone information 
line(1-900-226-JOLT)to 



says Berkland, "but I do 
want to advance science, 
protect the public, and get 
the information out. 
Animals have a sense of 
the forces at work in 
nature," Berkland adr 1 " 
"They can feel when 
change o 
feeling confuses them. 
When that happens, they 
react instinctively — they 
run and don't stop running 
until their senses tell them 
■ick Huyghe 



GIANT RAT r 


ats— never reach the 


size of the creature 


Scared of mice? Be allegedly spotted in 


thankful you weren't in 


ranee. "Beavers, on the 


Abbeville, France, recent- c 


ther hand, can some- 
mes weigh close to a 


ly. A ratlike albino animal 


the size of a dog hundred pounds," Jack- 1 
supposedly appeared in son says there's no way | 


that community, terrifying t 


o know just what kind of 


residents and out- animal caused so much | 


maneuvering would-be c 


ommotion, but he's 


rodent hunters. skeptical that it was a rat 1 


According to witness- species. — Sherry Baker | 


es, the creature was 




nearly three and a half 
feet long and weighed 


^^£fe ■ 1 


close to 16 pounds. 


ggjagPr^'jj^Lvfll 


Veterinarian Gerard Dela- 


■^ 1 


bie, who finally killed the 


xv .^'-^jp5^ 1 


animal with a lethal 


, 


injection, at first believed 




the critter was a rat. 




But University of 


a * x 


Georgia wildlife specialist 


B' 


Jeff Jackson points out 


WSL ,.-< 


that rodents commonly 


m*. 


called rats — Norway rats, 
house mice, and roof 







irUTERVIEUU 



and has a degree in business admin- 
istration. The vessel simply arrives on 
the site with all the compressors, gen- 
erators, fresh-water makers, chambers, 
galleys full of food. We have conserva- 
tors working full-time in Turkey mend- 
ing pottery. We even have full-time il- 
lustrators drawing the material, and pho- 
tographers doing beautiful underwater 
photographs and the detail photogra- 
phy in museums. 

Omni: Do you ever have trouble with ma- 
rine life at the site? 

Bass: Until three years ago, we'd nev- 
er seen a shark. But recently at Ulu Bu- 
run a shark goes by maybe one hun- 
dred meters away. Our greatest fear is 
that the site seems almost a breeding 
ground for a kind of scorpion fish. So 
we keep a spear lying at the site. 
Twice people have gotten scorpion 
fish spines into their fingers on land and 
almost gone into shock from [he pain. 
If a diver put his knee on one at one- 
sixty feet and suddenly panicked, he'd 
be in serious trouble. I don't know why 
there are so many here, but every year 
we have to kill about half a dozen. 
Omni: When you come across a 



wreck, what are your first thoughts? 
Bass: It.s date. Judging the forms of 
antiquities — Bronze Age, classical 
Greek, Roman, Byzantine, medieval, 
or later — Is fairly easy. Then we raise a 
few diagnostic artifacts to pin down the 
date to a century. During the last dec- 
ade we've found seventy-five to eighty 
ancient wrecks along a small part of the 
Turkish coast. 

Our ultimate aim is to excavate one 
merchant ship from every century of an- 
tiquity. Then we'd have told the entire 
story of hulls and pottery, weights and 
coins and everything. Then we'd per- 
haps focus on types of merchant 
ships, then move to warships, ferry- 
boats, fishing boats, and so on, Es- 
sentially, we'd like to tel! the story of sea- 
faring with firsthand evidence, A set of 
too!s from a ship of every period of an- 
tiquity would tell the history of tools bet- 
ter than it's been exhibited on land. 
Omni: What's so important about the 
Bronze Age shipwreck you're excavat- 
ing now? 

Bass: It has an impact on the history of 
maritime trade, on international rela- 
tions, and even Egyptology. The scar- 
ab of Nefertiti suggests to some Egyp- 
tologists that she was coruler of Egypt 
with her husband, Akhenaton. It has an 
impact on the study of literacy. This 




wooden tablet with its wax writing sur- 
faces is something mentioned by Ho- 
mer, but previously people didn't think 
these existed in the Bronze Age [3000 
to 1000 B.C.] when the Trojan War took 
place. They did. With materials from 
eight cultures on this vessel, we have 
a broad spectrum of how they worked 
together. Our discoveries bring to life 
contemporary correspondence be- 
tween various kings describing the trad- 
ing and types of goods that were on the 
"ships. We can't work without reading 
these ancient documents. And now peo- 
ple studying documents have to pay at- 
tention to what we're finding. 

Colleagues working with me on a 
wreck only one thousand years old at 
Limani, Turkey, think that's even more 
important. The curator of Islamic art at 
the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New 
York said that had we not found all 
these types of glazed bowls, which we 
date to about a.d.1025, art historians 
would have dated some of them to the 
ninth and perhaps twelfth century, 
With its three tons of medieval glass on- 
board, this wreck contains more Islam- 
ic glass than all the collections in all the 
glass museums in the world — then you 
multiply it by ten or a hundred and 
still don't come up with a reasonable 
figure. Not being an expert in medieval 
or Byzantine art, I decided to farm out 
most of the work to those specializing 
in categories of the find. But Fred Van 
Doorninck, who started with me in 1961, 
said, "George, you've got to get emo- 
tionally and intellectually involved in 
the wreck. You've got to publish part of 
it yourself." 

So I took the dregs, the little miscel- 
laneous finds that would be passed 
over in one or two sentences in the av- 
erage archaeological report. "And we 
found eight bone spindle whorls" or 
"We found fragments of three combs," 
they'd say, and leave it at that, I took 
the spindle whorls. It was fairly easy to 
find out they were carved somewhere 
along the Syro-Palestinian coast. But 
why were they on this ship? Everything's 
carried for a reason. 

By plotting their position on our plan 
of the site, I found they were not scat- 
tered randomly but in specific clusters 
in areas where fishermen were repair- 
ing their nets. It dawned on me that may- 
be fishermen were spinning threads to 
mend their nets. Then I stumbled onto 
something written by an Arab a centu- 
ry before the ship sank saying that spin- 
ning goat hair was a manly thing, un- 
like spinning flax, which only women 
did. We analyzed a few fibers of 
thread still surviving in a lead net sink- 
er. It was goat hair, Then I talked to an 
eighty-three-year-old fisherman who 



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/V/ 



What ara 

you 



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said goat hair was the best thread for 
his nets. It doesn't absorb water like. 
wool. An Ottoman net turned out to 
have goat hair as well. Finally I ran into 
a reference from the Thirties about mod- 
ern Danes mending their nets with spin- 
dles and whorls. "That clinches it," I 
thought. "That's what they were doing." 

Then a history professor wrote me, 
saying that one spindle whorl found at 
the Viking site in Newfoundland led 
them to reason that a woman must 
have been present. But if, in fact, 
these were not used just by women, 
this might not be a more permanent col- 
ony but just a fishing station. Rethink- 
ing what a single spindle whorl means 
could change our ideas about the dis- 
covery and colonization of early Amer- 
ica by the Vikings. 

Omni: Did the Minotaur or Labyrinth 
actually exist? 

Bass: I believe the story is a mytholog- 
ical representation of the downfall of 
King Minos of Crete, where we know 
the bull was worshipped. In his exca- 
vations at the Minoan capital and at 
Knossos, Sir Arthur Evans found many 
depictions of double axes, and the 
word for that in antiquity is labrys. If you 
look at this mazelike palace today, you'll 
see the bottom floor is in corridors. 
That fact could easily have led to the 
idea of Theseus being lost inside and 
finding his way out only with the aid of 
a thread laid out by Minos's daughter 
Ariadne. Theseus, king of Greece, kill- 
ing the Minotaur could represent the My- 
cenaean Greek dominance of Crete by 
overcoming the Minoans. 

Atlantis, too, may have a basis in 
fact. Some people would say Plato sim- 
ply made up the story to make a point. 
But it's not impossible that the destruc- 
tion of the island of Thera by volcanic 
eruption led to the story of a civilization 
sinking beneath the waves. I don't 
think Atlantis is out in the middle of the 
Atlantic somewhere. 
Omni: Have any of your findings veri- 
fied mythological stories? 
Bass: Everything we've found on our 
wrecks has tended to corroborate 
what Homer, who presumably lived in 
the late Iron Age [after 1000 B.C.], 
wrote about the Bronze Age. We found 
brushwood dunnage, a protective liner 
underneath cargo, on the Cape Gelido- 
nya and Ulu Burun ships. Homer has 
Odysseus putting brushwood dunnage 
in the boat he built to leave Calypso's 
island. Homer often wrote about Phoe- 
nician metalworkers and sailors. People 
said, "Well, it's anachronistic." But our 
wrecks have shown the Bronze Age 
Phoenicians were active seafarers and 
metalsmiths or at least seemed to be 
carrying a lot of metal around the East- 




WHAT LITTLE TRAFFIC there is in 
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This one came from over by our limestone cave 
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right for whiskey making (it's iron- 
free), he built his distillery alongside. 
Of course, that meant sharing the 
property with a few ducks. But to 
have a source of water this treasured, 
we've always been glad to stop 
for friends who value it as much 
as we do. 

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ern Mediterranean. Iron Age Phoeni- 
cians became tremendous explorers 
and seafarers, sailing out into the Atlan- 
tic. There's reason to believe a Phoeni- 
cian sailor circumnavigated Africa. 
Omni: What's the significance of the 
glass ingots you found at Kas? 
Bass: In 1972 Leo Oppenheim, a Near 
Eastern linguist, speculated that a 
brief passage in cuneiform on a four- 
teenth-century clay tablet suggested 
the king of Tyre was shipping raw 
glass to the Pharaoh in Egypt. Now 
we've found on a ship from that peri- 
od, probably sailing from the Levantine 
coast where the king of Tyre lived, doz- 
ens of cobalt-blue glass ingots unique 
in the world. They are chemically iden- 
tical to Egyptian and Mycenaean blue 
glass. So all the blue glass in the east- 
ern Mediterranean was probably being 
shipped from one area where someone 
had a secret recipe for making it. 
Omni: What's so important about 
trade patterns? 

Bass: They're not! [laughter] Okay, 
they tell how ideas spread. If my ideas 
about Phoenician seafarers in the 
Aegean are correct, some theories 
about Near Eastern influences on clas- 
sical Greek civilization may be more ac- 
curate than some scholars admit. I like 
to think that archaeologists' findings 
that increase understanding of the 
past could help us make better judg- 
ments. How can we really make deci- 
sions on politics, religion, or morals if 
we don't know how these things actu- 
ally came about? 

Omni: Aside from carbon 14, what's the 
most accurate dating of age? 
Bass: A large number of coins. One 
1926 quarter in your pocket doesn't 
mean much. But if we find sixty coins 
all from about the same date, never lat- 
er than a certain year, we can assume 
the ship sank about the time the coins 
stopped. After coins, pottery. You can 
tell by sight whether a car was made 
in the Thirties or Fifties. Like cars or cloth- 
ing, the styles of pottery changed. I can 
look up a piece of pottery in the library 
and date it to within a century, some- 
times even to a few decades. 

The greatest breakthrough for the 
study of ancient ships will be when we 
have a complete dendrochronology [dat- 
ing of wood age] going back to the 
Bronze Age. Peter Kuniholm at Cornell 
is devoting his life to building up such 
a sequence of tree rings from the pres- 
ent day in the Aegean and eastern Med- 
iterranean. He's taken drillings from very 
old cedars in Lebanon and in Byzan- 
tine churches. If we have a piece of 
keel or brushwood, dendrochronology 
will tell us exactly when that wood was 
cut. It will indicate the year the ship 

114 OMNI 



sank much more precisely than carbon 
14, thermoluminescence, or pottery. 
Omni: Might some of the pottery be a 
lot older than the wreck itself? 
Bass: Ah, yes. If you were to have din- 
ner with me, you'd have a cup that be- 
longed to my great-grandmother or a 
plate of my wife's great-grandmother. 
We tend to keep pottery, porcelain, or 
china for generations. I didn't think" it 
would happen on ships, where things 
gel broken by the rolling and pitching. 
We first dated the Ulu Burun shipwreck 
in the first half of the fourteenth centu- 
ry, based on a Bronze Age Greek cup 
and pitcher. But the Neferfiti scarab in- 
dicates that date is at least half a cen- 
tury too early. That pottery was simply 
old and still being used. 

Fred Van Doorninck has proved 
some amphorae on later ships were in 
use for more than a century. It's incred- 
ible that something as fragile as pottery 



•I planned a roving 
wheeled habitat in which for 

months you'd 

travel along the seabed and 

find unlimited 

numbers of wrecks. You'd 

carry oxygen; your 
batteries would be ballast. 9 



could have been used in cargoes, put 
in holds, and taken out scores of times 
over a century without being broken. 
He's even shown where the handles 
have broken off and their stubs have 
been filed down. They'd put a new slip 
or wash of clay on the pot, carve new 
graffiti, and use it again and again. Dat- 
ing is always an educated guess, un- 
less you find an inscription saying, "I, 
Captain So-and-so in the year of So-and- 
so's reign," and of course that's a 
dream. But we'll find it one day. 
Omni: How do you pinpoint specific 
wreck sites? 

Bass: In the Mediterranean, sighting re- 
mains one hundred percent the eyes of 
sponge divers. But the sponge indus- 
try is dying, so there's not many more 
years of that In the Caribbean, docu- 
ments in Spanish archives describe 
where a wreck is. Then you can go 
look for it with a magnetometer. There 
is little or no iron on these ships in the 
Mediterranean, whereas I've gone out 
on a reef in the Caribbean and found 
four wrecks in one morning because of 



all the cannons and anchors of iron. 
We've used sonar in the Mediterrane- 
an with success. I believe ours was the 
first group to find an ancient shipwreck 
with side-scan sonar back in 1967. 
Omni: And that's strictly finding a pro- 
tuberance underwater?. 
Bass: Right. Once we did a three- 
month random survey down the Turk- 
ish coast. Half the time we used side- 
scan sonar and underwater television. 
We found one wreck. Then we went 
with sponge divers and found a dozen 
wrecks in the next few weeks. They 
would go to a spot and tell us precise- 
ly where to dive and there would be the 
wreck right there. 

Omni: What are the inherent difficulties 
of underwater mapping? 
Bass: Only the limitation of time. If we 
went to saturation diving, where the div- 
er could work seven hours a day, we'd 
beat that problem. Now each diver 
gets twenty minutes at a time twice a 
day. I spent a large part of the Sixties 
developing new methods of mapping un- 
derwater, first with various grids, Ihen 
with photography and eventually ster- 
eophotogrammetry, three-D mapping 
with stereophotographs as is done by 
airplane. We developed a system that 
uses a submarine — that's now standard 
on all small research submarines 
throughout the world. But on this 
Bronze Age shipwreck, we've gone 
back to meter tapes and triangulation. 
It's very accurate, and there's nothing 
to break down. 

Omni: Can you tell if pollution has af- 
fected the wrecks? 

Bass: So far, they seem to be insulated. 
I've heard horror stories about the 
sludge being a half meter thick off the 
coast of well-populated areas of Italy 
and France. But I don't think it's gotten 
under the sand and hurt anything yet. 
I can certainly see the difference in Med- 
iterranean pollution. When we used to 
dive it was so clear you'd go three 
months without seeing anything. Now at 
times when I'm decompressing I seem 
to be swimming in a sea of plastic 
bags. Millions of bits of plastic; it's like 
a ticker-tape parade. This is in an iso- 
lated part of Turkey. 
Omni: Do you think underwater colo- 
nies are practical? 

Bass: Not at the moment, except per- 
haps as research stations. And remote 
vehicles and submersibles are doing a 
lot of that work. In the late Sixties I 
planned to design a roving wheeled hab- 
itat in which for months you could trav- 
el along the seabed and find unlimited 
numbers of wrecks. Your batteries 
would essentially be your ballast and 
you could send these to the surface or 
have them recharged with cables. 



You'd carry oxygen, C0 2 scrubbers, 
and so on and just live fora month do- 
ing what sponge divers do to find so 
many wrecks; move slowly along Ihe sea- 
bed. Well, I stopped that kind of design- 
ing. No one took me seriously because 
I was an archaeologist. I couldn't get 
government support for the fresh 
ideas we were way ahead of the engi- 
neers on. The Navy "finally gave us a 
grant to develop our stereophotograph 
technique, which is now standard prac- 
tice for mapping the seabed from 
small submersibles. 
Omni: In 1989 you got the Navy to de- 
classify some detailed maps of the 
ocean floor that they'd withheld be- 
cause of concern over Soviet subma- 
rine activity 

Bass: You didn't get that from me! And 
I don't know whether it helped much. 
What I'd like to get declassified are ae- 
rial surveys. You can spot ballast piles 
in shallow water. With water-penetrat- 
ing film we might be able to go deep- 
er. When I approached the United 
States government about satellite or aer- 
ial pictures, they told me to go to the 
Turkish government. When the Turkish 
military heard about that, they got so ex- 
ercised it almost stopped our work in 
Turkey forever. 

There's good reason for countries to 
be nervous about archaeologists as 
spies. Every archaeology professor I ev- 
er had was in the OSS in World War II. 
Who else knew the countryside, languag- 
es, mountain paths as well? There was 
a saying, the Greek mountains were 
white with the parachutes of British ar- 
chaeologists being sent in. My uncle, 
an archaeologist, was in the OSS and 
was dressed like a French peasant. 
Omni: Was the real reason the Titanic 
got explored because the government 
saw an opportunity to use equipment 
that might have military applications? 
Bass: That's what I heard, and I 
wouldn't be surprised if it's so, We our- 
selves found this deep statue-bearing 
shipwreck in Turkey because of our con- 
tract to evaluate three new types of side- 
scan sonar. I said at the time to Cap- 
tain Snyder, who later became ocean- 
ographer of the Navy, "Why in the 
world is the Navy paying a bunch of ar- 
chaeologists to test sonar''" He said we 
could do it much more cheaply. We had 
our own submersible; the Navy had afl 
the regulations and red tape. We 
could just go out and do it. They 
weren't interested in what we found; 
they just wanted to know which type of 
sonar would find it the best. 
Omni: Should the Titanic and Bismarck 
be left as underwater monuments? 
Bass: They're not archaeological; they 
may become archaeological. But if you 

116 OMNI 



go that route, you should never bull- 
doze any kind of building because some- 
day everything will be archaeological. 
In the case of the Titanic, there's an ar- 
gument for leaving it alone. Some struc- 
tures are simply so famous, so much a 
part of our cultural environment, they 
should be left alone. The Titanic is a land- 
mark and should be left alone for that 
reason, not for the same reasons as leav- 
ing a Bronze Age shipwreck alone. 
Omni: What are your views about this 
whole mess of admiralty law or lack of 
law that seems to protect more sites on 
land than sea? The notion of marine sal- 
vage is in a real state of flux. 
Bass: I testified before Congress to get 
the bill passed to protect historic ship- 
wrecks and had no trouble whatsoever 
countering and beating the best law- 
yers oi treasure hunters. I was pleased 
to see senators on C-Span using my 
word-for-word arguments: Why is it all 



^There's good reason 
for countries to be nervous 

about archaeologists 
as spies. Every professor I 

had was in the OSS 

in World War II. Who knew 

the languages 

and mountain paths better?? 



right to tear up a historic shipwreck 
when you can't do it to a land mon- 
ument like the Alamo or Mount Vernon? 
I could find an Indian burial mound, bull- 
doze it, and sell the pots' and say it's 
free enterprise. People would say, 
"That's immoral; send him to jail." Pre- 
viously in American waters you could 
do that; the new law stops it. 

The treasure hunter will take this ar- 
gument: "There are millions of ship- 
wrecks out there; how come they're so 
worried if we go after these few Span- 
ish gal. eons?" Unfortunately, the treas- 
ure hunter and -the archaeologist will 
be going after the same ship because 
it is an important one. There are very 
few known ships from the early period 
of New World exploration, Ihe time direct- 
ly after Columbus. We know more 
about how Greek and Roman ships 
were built than those of Columbus and 
the explorers who immediately followed 
after him. 

Our institute has been looking at 
wrecks in the Bahamas, Turks, Caicos, 
and elsewhere. Without exception, 



they've ail been looted. In one, the hull 
was dynamited and broken into one 
week before our team got there. Be- 
tween the time our crew went down and 
made a sketch of it and came back, 
a hole had been blown in the middle. 
Off France and Italy, "most visible 
wrecks in sport-diving depths have 
been stripped clean of their amphorae. 
In 1976 we surveyed site after site 
where there had been huge piles of 
amphorae described, and every single 
one was gone. 

As for what happens to wrecks in 
open seas in the middle of oceans, I'm 
not wise enough to judge. There have 
been Mediterranean countries that 
■ have said the material from those 
wrecks should return to the country of 
cultural origin. This is such a nutty idea. 
The Greeks were making bronze stat- 
ues in what is now Turkey and Italy. 
Does that statue go to Greece, Turkey, 
or Italy? Imagine a jury listening to ar- 
chaeologists argue for ten years on the 
evidence of what nationality a ship isl 
We don't know .the nationality of the Ulu 
Burun ship. There's something there 
from Egypt, Cyprus, the Syro-Palestin- 
ian coast, and Greece. Where does it 
go? I'd only hope it would all stay to- 
gether and go to one museum. 
Omni: What do you think of Mel Fish- 
er's handling of the Atocha7 
Bass: The Atocha was not archaeologi- 
cally excavated, and I'm not happy 
with any wreck that's excavated in that 
manner. We know to the centimeter 
where everything is found. I spend end- 
less hours making color-coded maps of 
Ihe distribution of things on our 
wrecks. The treasure hunter and archae- 
ologist cannot really cooperate. The ar- 
chaeologist wants to take as long as pos- 
sible to do things, whereas the hunter 
has to move as quickly as possible to 
make a profit. I've just written seventy- 
five pages on a pair of scissors we 
found ten years ago. We didn't know 
they existed until last year. Since these 
were found with part of a delousing 
comb and a razor, it seems like a little 
barber's kit. That got me into the area 
of shipboard toiletries. These would 
have been overlooked by treasure hunt- 
ers and sucked up the air lift. 

In the end a big part of our work is 
just curiosity — knowing that sailors on 
a thousand-year-old ship had problems 
grooming their hair because of lice. 
Just a tidbit. In that sense it's like an in- 
teresting hobby. I'm not being cynical, 
but I don't want to exaggerate the im- 
portance of archaeology any more 
than any other 1 activity humans take 
pleasure in. But if we only worry about 
growing food and making bridges, 
then we won't be human. DO 



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catch up with the moon and touch. 

When the first tiny bite appears at the 
top of the sun there's a cheer from all 
concerned. The bite gets bigger . . . 
and bigger . . . and then, powl, at 
7:29:30 the bright disc of the sun is 
gone and the streamers of the corona 
leap out at us. 

We have totality, 

There's another cheer at that, of 
course. That's what this trip is all 
about, and it's worth everything it cost. 
At the top of the sun there's a spot of 
ruby-laser light, where one immense red 
prominence ten times the size of the 
earth has leaped out and coiled back 
on itself to fall back to the sun's surface. 
A bit later another bright prominence 
shows up at the bottom of the sun's 
disc — fortunate places for them to be, 
because if they'd been on the sides of 
the sun (that is to say, actually its north 
or south poles,. bearing in mind our right- 
angle view from the earth's surface) 
they would have been hidden by the en- 
larged lunar disc and we might have 
seen no prominences at all. 

Now we all know why we came 
here. Photographs don't do it. Photo- 
graphs can't show the emitted light 
from the corona, and most of all, photo- 
graphs don't show the wide, dark sky 
surrounding the fantastic eclipsed sun. 
If I'd seen it without previous knowledge 
I'd certainly have taken it for a UFO, a 
Disneyland special effect, or a miracle; 
in fact, what it is is wonderful. Next to 
me an elderly man is weeping with joy, 
and most of the rest of us are close. 

We have four minutes and some sec- 
onds of fine, clear, unobstructed totali- 
ty, and it passes in the wink of an eye. 

When we get around to remember- 
ing the rest of the world we find out 
that Baja did as well as we did, but al- 
most all the thousands onshore on the 
island of Hawaii itself were socked in. 
About the only ones in the area other 
than ourselves who saw true totality 
were the handful of astronomers on top 
of Mauna Kea. They were above the 
clouds. There was a touch of ice fog at 
the surface, but the eclipse was clear. 

And on our ship, when the show was 
over, Michael, the seven-year-old who 
had mourned his absence from his Nin- 
tendo, turned to his grandfather and 
said, "Now I have something to tell my 
C'"andciildren." 

"What grandchildren?" his grandfa- 
ther asked. "You've been telling us you 
were never going to get married." 

"That was then," Michael said. "Now 
I've changed my mind." DO 




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ELECTROnJIC 
UNIVERSE 



For entertaining science, fiddle with 

the solar system and tinker with the weather 

By Gregg Keizer 



Electronic entertainment's 
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robots who never heard, of 
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4,600 asteroids populate triis 
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Stand anywhere on Earth, 
on any day from 4600 B.C. to 
a.d. 10000, and zoom in on 
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program all but requires a 
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All this can make for 
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Forecaster's presen- 



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they happen. 

You pay for the fun of 
watGhing the weather, 
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Even so, getting current 
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although downloading the 
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As fun as it is to play 
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You carft play with tem- 
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winds, for instance, to 
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coast. Or observe the 
formation of a tornado. But 
Software Toolworks presi- 
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Dance of the Clouds? 
What stirring scientific fun 
that would be! DO 



GUATEMALA 

CONTINUED FROM PAGE 90 

mala when children die. Nahaman was 
taken by ambulance to San Juan de Di- 
es, a state-run hospital. No police re- 
port was filed — he was registered as 
"XX" (unknown) — nor was a medical ex- 
am performed. Comatose, Nahaman 
was suffering convulsions and urinating 
blood. In addition to six fractured ribs, 
the boy sustained two broken fingers 
and open wounds to his cheeks and 
head. Seventy percent of his hair had 
to be shaved, as it was covered with 
glue. He also had a three-inch gash on 
his back. Surgery was performed in an 
attempt to repair Nahaman's liver and 
save his life. Despite recurring con- 
vulsions, no brain scan was ever 
done. He never regained conscious- 
ness and died ten days later. 

In their brutal yet eloquent simplici- 
ty, Nahaman's last words serve as an 
epitaph for the 40 or more Guatemalan 
children who shared his tate, all killed 
this year in the unrelenting underground 
police-led campaign of extermination. 
In one incident, eight street children 
were kidnapped from a downtown neigh- 
borhood by men in a jeep. The bodies 



of three of the boys were soon found, 
All bore.messages carved in the unmis- 
takable language of torture: Their ears 
had been sliced off, their eyes burned 
out. And in a traditional warning to 
witnesses not to "sing," their tongues 
had been carved out. The other five 
boys were never found. 

"Hopefully, they were killed first;" 
said Bruce Harris, who brought charg- 
es against Nahaman's executioners. 
"But that's not the way it's usually 
done around here." Harris ought to 
know. Harassed by Guatemalan police, 
he and his family had to leave and now 
reside in Mexico. 

In a larger sense, Nahaman's words 
also underscore the vulnerability of in- 
nocence and truth in the eternal con- 
test with the forces of evil and injustice. 
The four policemen who were finally de- 
tained in connection with his death 
have been sentenced to prison terms 
of between 10 and 15 years. At this writ- 
ing, however, government-led efforts 
are being made to release the officers. 
The rationale: Alleged typographical er- 
rors in court documents filed by Casa 
Alianza invalidate the ruling for some rea- 
son, thus prompting the authorities to 
conclude with characteristic sophistry 
that there is, therefore, no case. 



Promised anonymity and baited by a 
$20 bribe, a Guatemala City cop told 
Omni that "the crime rate has been spi- 
raling out of control. There are more 
and more gangs of street children, 
They've been giving us a, lot of trouble. 
It's bad for business, bad for tourism, 
bad for our national image," explained 
the officer. "We cope as we can. We 
obey orders." I had heard this some- 
where else. It is the same kind of crass 
official insolence that has time and 
again blocked investigations into a num- 
ber of recent human rights violations, 
including the assassination of several 
prominent Guatemalan "centrist" politi- 
cians, a lawyer, scores of human 
rights activists, more than 50 Guatema- 
lan and U.S. journalists, anthropologist 
Myrna Elizabeth Mack Chang (whose 
murder, it was recently confirmed, was 
ordered by a high-ranking member of 
the Guatemalan security forces), U.S. 
citizen Michael Devine (abducted, tor- 
tured, and murdered by a group of men 
that included soldiers), and children's 
rights advocates, including a Casa Ali- 
anza staff worker. 

According to a U.S. State Depart- 
ment report, "Reliable evidence indi- 
cates that [Guatemalan] security forc- 
es and civil patrols committed, with al- 



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most total impunity, most of the major 
human rights abuses. These include 
extrajudicial killings, torture, and disap- 
pearances of, among others, human 
rights activists, unionists, indigenous peo- 
ple, and street children.... Security forc- 
es are virtually never held •accountable 
for these violations.. With few excep- 
tions, the government has failed to 
investigate, detain, and prosecute 
those perpetrators of extrajudicial and 
politically motivated killings who were 
unwilling to investigate cases aggres- 
sively if the military was thought to be 
involved. It is likely that military officials 
also shield lower-ranking personnel in- 
volved in killings. Approximately 400 
policemen were discharged for a vari- 
ety of abuses, including corruption." Ex- 
policemen, however, are usually reset- 
tled as bodyguards or in a variety of pri- 
vate security assignments— and contin- 
ue to carry guns. 

The reign of terror that grips Guate- 
mala has also thwarted investigations 
into the brutal abduction, torture, and 
rape by Guatemalan police of Sister Di- 
anna Ortiz, a U.S. nun working with chil- 
dren. Her story was reported earlier 
this year by ABC's Diane Sawyer on 
Prime Time Live. 

Guatemala City is a dusty, noisy me- 
tropolis that has grown and spilled over 
its own limits, physically and economi- 
cally. Like a festering sore, far from the 
opulent estancias and chic town villas 
where the well-to-do live in splendid 
isolation, (three percent of Guatemalans 
own ninety-eight percent of the coun- 
try's arable land) the city has spread, 
tentacle-like, into pestilential slums, 
along sunlit ridges and down the 
slopes of dank garbage-strewn can- 
yons where barefoot children, chickens, 
cats, and dogs share a common pre- 
carious existence. It is. in one such 
slum, named Limon, that thirteen-year- 
old Angelica agreed to meet us. With 
a price on her head, stalked by the 
policeman who has repeatedly raped 
and threatened to kill her, Angelica now 
moves from hovel to hovel, hiding dur- 
ing the day, earning a few quetzales 
at night selling herself. We found her in 
a room with oaro cindcro.ock wa Is. seal- 
ed at the edge of a cot, her feet, pitted 
by insect bites and skin lesions, rest- 
ing on the dirt floor, under a leaking 
corrugated sheetmetal roof held by 
waterlogged and rotting wood beams. 

On the streets since she was eight, 
Angelica saw her mother murdered by 
the woman who now lives with her fa- 
ther. She started drinking when she was 
ten. A man tried to seduce her when 
she was eleven. She escaped and was 
placed in a shelter where she was 
homosexually molested by an older 



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girl. She has been sniffing glue for the 
past three years. Caught stealing trin- 
kets from a variety store, she was 
dragged by a policeman into a cul-de- 
sac behind the store, where she was 
repeatedly raped and sodomized. The 
officer then shoved the barrel of his gun 
into her mouth and, with a smile, threat- 
ened to kill her if she talked. "Still smil- 
ing," and as if to punctuate his threat 
with a small sample, he kicked her in 
the stomach "so hard that I nearly faint- 
ed from the pain." The policeman had 
not bothered to remove his shield and 
Angelica memorized the number. She 
staggered into a hospital where she blurt- 
ed out her story and was treated. De- 
spite a formal complaint lodged on her 
behalf and forensic evidence submitted 
to a local magistrate, the policeman, 
while identified three days after the in- 
cident, was never charged. "Forensic 
evidence" goes bad after two days and 
may no longer be used in a Guatema- 
lan court of law. 

In a corner of the room, under the pal- 
lid rays of a bare 40-watt bulb around 
which a squadron of flies keeps circling, 
propped on a table littered with rags 
and old newspapers, rests a tall, garish- 
ly painted figurine, a Madonna and 
child whose introspective, tortured gaz- 



es, frozen in a point in space where 
God is said to dwell, exude pain and 
disillusionment, betrayal and stupefac- 
tion. Every once in a while, almost me- 
chanically, Angelica casts a forlorn 
glance at the holy icon, perhaps for 
reassurance. But in her large brown 
eyes all I see are false hopes and bro- 
ken promises. 

Outside, the vultures have resumed 
their abominable vigil, gliding overhead 
like black-winged angels at a witches' 
Sabbath, awaiting death, smelling it, tast- 
ing it almost. Surely, I reflect, even God 
must find Limon a very bitter fruit. 

For most of Guatemala's street chil- 
dren, the nightmare begins at concep- 
tion, an act advocated and sanctified 
by the Church and soon trivialized by 
the postpartum experience. Life there- 
after has neither meaning nor value. 
Aloof and ethereal, Guatemala's Cath- 
olic Church has the solid backing of 
some mighty friends who have demon- 
strated greater obedience to ideology 
than altruism. Continuing to bow to in- 
terests stretching from the Vatican 
down to powerful Christian right-wingers 
with close ties to the murkiest segments 
of U.S. intelligence and paramilitary 
communities, Guatemala's Church has 
little time for street children. While the 



Church cannot be linked to the k. lings 
per se, it directly and indirectly bears 
a burden of guilt by denying women 
access to birth control and abortion, 
by censuring the teaching of safe sex, 
by disallowing the use of contracep- 
tives, and by exhibiting gross indiffer- 
ence to the causes and consequences 
of overpopulation. 

Contacts in Guatemala have quietly 
admitted that the Church has done far 
less than it could on behalf of the chil- 
dren, "partly because of a lingering an- 
tipathy by law enforcement agencies 
against the clergy, and partly because 
of its own inertia and a traditional ob- 
structionist policy that curiously places 
greater emphasis on the unborn" than 
on the living. 

While it is true that a number of ac- 
tivist priests and nuns have been exe- 
cuted in Guatemala and elsewhere in 
Latin America — frontline soldiers are 
always in the line of fire — princes of the 
Church rarely, if ever, face similar dan- 
gers. In the case of Guatemala, the 
Church's actions, or lack thereof, on 
behalf of its most vulnerable flock, the 
company it keeps, the tenacity with 
which it controls its dominion, the 
arrogance of its double standards, 
all speak louder than words and all too 



sadly point to what can be perceived 
only as a depraved indifference to hu- 
man life. 

This inertia was dramatically illustrat- 
ed during my visit to Guatemala when, 
not to be outdone, Guatemala's first 
and second ladies — both touted as 
staunch supporters of children's 
rights, and both who claim pedigreed 
blue blood ancestry — failed to appear 
for a prearranged interview. No apology 
or explanation for their lack of interest 
was ever offered-. "There is no justice 
in Guatemala," Bruce Harris comment- 
ed as we parted. "Kids are abandoned 
by their families, persecuted by the 
state, rejected by society." Ironically, I 
noted, it is those most apt to help re- 
dress the "Sins that Cry to Heaven for 
Vengeance" — oppression of the poor 
and the orphans — whose hearts have 
turned to stone. 

Guatemala's coat of arms consists of 
two crossed rifles with fixed bayonets 
and two crossed boarding sabers 
flanked by two olive branches on a 
field of double blue and white. A nation 
of contrasts, it continues to live by the 
rifle. Sabers keep on rattling. Both are 
trained on easy targets. Inexplicably, 
as if guided by an irresistible urge to 
self-destruct, Guatemala, by immolat- 
ing its children, may be depriving' itself 
of a future. Can the olive branch ever 
prevail? OQ 

POSTSCRIPT, A week after my return 
to New York, I received an urgent dis- 
patch informing me that the Casa Ali- 
anza shelter in Guatemala City had 
been peppered with machine-gun fire. 
The unidentified assailants, "four heav- 
ily armed men in a blue BMW" (most like- 
ly policemen implicated in brutal 
crimes against street children) "threat- 
ened to kill the director, the staff, and 
the children. " 

A week later, I was also informed 
that a seven-year-old street boy had 
been beaten to death by police. His 
head had been bashed, his eyes 
gouged. Positive identification could 
not be made. That same day, a fifteen- 
year-old boy was dragged by police to 
the outskirts of Guatemala City where 
he was savagely beaten and burned 
over 90 percent of his body, including 
his genitalia. 

News of the bludgeoning to death of 
the Financial Times correspondent in 
Guatemala reached me at this writing. 
Sources tell me he was working on the 
ongoing Bank of Credit and Commerce 
international scandal. This brings to 
more than 50 the number of journalists 
killed in the line of duty in Guatemala 
since 1978. Death goes on. 

—W. E. Gutman 



YOU CAN HELP 

If this article has struck a chord, a let- 
ter to your elected representatives is a 
good start. If you desire further informa- 
tion or wish to help the children by mak- 
ing a contribution, contact the following 
organizations: 

• AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL USA, 
322 8th Ave., New York, NY 10001; 
(212) 807-8400. Or contact your local 



Al office for additional information. 

• CHILDHOPE, 333 E. 38th St., New 
York, NY 10016; (212) 983-1422. 

• CHILDREN'S RIGHTS INTERNATION- 
AL, 21 S. 13th St., Philadelphia, PA 
19107; (215) 569-8850. 

• COVENANT -HOUSE, 346 W. 17th St., 
New York, NY 10011-5002: (800) 999- 
9999. 

• PLAN INTERNATIONAL USA, 155 
Plan Way, Box M024, Warwick, Rl 
02886-1099; (800) 556-7918. 



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BAfUlES 



Traditional 3-D glasses won't help you 

find the message concealed in these random dots 

By Scot Morris 



The blur of random dots on 
this page conceals a 3-D 
message. Your job is to see 
the message and then 
decipher it. We'll print the 
solution "in a later issue. 

In the past, you could see 
Ihree-dirnensional illusions 
only when wearing' special 
glasses with red and green 
lenses or with polarized 
lenses to separate "left eye" 
and "right eye" images. Or 
you could put a card 
between your nose and the 
page to separate the two 
printed images. Computers, 
however, now allow creators 
to make single 3-D images 
on paper 1 . 

Created by computer 
graphics whiz Dan Dyckman, 
our so-called single-image 
random dot stereogram is 
980 pixels (picture ele- 
ments) wide. "First I draw a 
strip of random dots, one 
hundred eighty pixels wide, 
down the left side of the. 
screen, with .each pixel 
having a fifty-fifty chance of 
being, black or white," 
Dyckman says. "Then 1 copy 
the columnof dots one 
hundred eighty pixels to the. 
right. Each dot is printed 
exactly where it was before, 
except that within a certain 
contour — say, a circle — 
each dot will be shifted one 
place to the left. When the 
image is fused in your 
vision, the brain will interpret 
this area as a circle floating 
above the background." 

Holding the page about 
one foot in front of you, look 
at the two circles above the 
image. Blur your vision and 
relax your eyes, as if you 
were looking at something 
several feet away. It may 
help to blink one eye while 

128 OMNI 



your vision is blurred. to split 
the image. 

Each eye should see two 
circles, for a total of four. 
Now bring your visual 
attention to the middle two, 
Make them come together 
and fuse into a single circle, 
You will see only three cir- 
cles and. you may perceive 
depth in the central circle, 
as if it were rising out of the 
page like an overturned 
polystyrene cup. Itmayalso 
feel as if you're looking 
through the. page. 

Some people may find it 
easier to achieve the effect 
by crossing their eyes. In 
that case, the depth images 
will be reversed. 

Having fused the middle 
circles, maintain your 
gaze for a few seconds. and 
give your brain time to make 
sense of the visual field. 



Then gently let your gaze 
drift down the rectangle. 
You should now see some 
images in the dots, 

Don't be discouraged if 
you can't see depth on 
the first try. Some people 
need only a few seconds 
before they -see it, but most 
require as long as 20 minutes. 
Only a few cannot see it 
even after a half hour or so. 

If your eyes converge the 
images on the page itself, 
you won't see any depth. 
You must let your eyes 
diverge "past" the page in 
order to see the image 
in the illusion. It's like looking 
out a window at the 
buildings beyond it but still 
being aware of what's on the 
window itself. 

When you can fuse the 
two circles, you know your 
eyes are properly diverged. 



Keep your gaze there and 
the illusion will appear. 

You. need the proper 
divergence, accomplished 
by fusing the two middle 
circles. And you must hold 
your gaze long enough for 
your brain to decode the 
depth information. 

Dyckman has also pro- 
duced a Macintosh program 
for making your own 
images. For more informa- 
tion, send a self-addressed, 
stamped envelope (SASE) 
to Dyckman at 300 First 
Avenue, Suite 4-B, New 
York, NY 10009-1844. 

N. E. Thing Enterprises 
also sells poster-sized 
random dot illusions, For 
information and samples 
send an SASE to One 
Kendall Square, Building 
200, Cambridge, MA 
02139. DO 



Life, Liberty 

and the 

Pursuit of 

Carmen Sandiegq 



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LAST WORD 



ECOLOGICIDE: 

Emerging environmental woes threaten Planet" Earth 

By Robert Bixby 



Writer, editor, 

and ecoterrorist 

Robert Bixby 

studies ecology 

(or the lack 

thereof) from the 

smoggy 

foothills of the 

Smoky 

Mountain range. 




There seems to be no end to the 
ecological disasters either pend- 
ing or already in full swing on 
Space Raf! Earth. We've heard 
the scientists' dull whine about 
the greenhouse effect for many 
years now. 

And what was once the thin- 
ning of the ozone is now consid- 
ered a receding ozone layer, lead- 
ing many scientists to recom- 
mend simply combing. the ozone 
over from the side to cover the 
bare spot. "I've been doing it my- 
self for years, and no one seems 
to notice that I'm almost complete- 
ly bald," remarked one formerly 
hirsute atmospheric physicist. 

Actually none of these so- 
called disasters will have much im- 
pact on most of us. The green- 
house effect promises to melt the 
poles, but unless you live in 
some low-lying coastal area, like 
Key West or Washington, DC, 
this just means that the beach 
will be a few miles closer. 

The thinning of the ozone 
boils down to being able to main- 
tain that deep, rich tan just by 
walking to the car in the morning; 
most of us don't spend more 
than a few minutes in the sun on- 
any given day, anyway. You can 
put these matters out. of your 



mind. Life will still carry on much 
the same. 

But while all ihe attention has 
centered on mainstream ecolog- 
ical issues, a legion of festering 
problems have begun to emerge. 
No one talks about them, though 
they promise to be even more dev- 
astating than the ones that grab 
the headlines. 

For example, automotive ex- 
haustion. Does your car look 
tired? Mine does. 

DEPLETION OF THE TIME ZONE 
Notice how rushed you are late- 
ly? How there never seem to be 
enough hours in the day? Most of 
us attribute this to busy sched- 
ules, raising kids, and working 16 ■ 
hours a day. 

But in fact, the very essence of 
life itself is shrinking. Think back ■ 
to when you were young. An 
hour spent in idleness could last 
forever. An eternity might pass as 
you lay on the couch, watching 
dust motes drift in a shaft of sun- 
light as you awaited Howdy 
Doody while Mom warmed up 
some milk in a saucepan to mix 
with Bosco. 

Contrast the leisurely passage 
of time in your youth — perhaps a 
mere 10 or 20 years ago — with 
the passage of time today By the 
time you remember you were go- 
ing to start taping /, Claudius on 
Sunday nights, six episodes 
have passed. You buy a tape, ful- 
ly intending to at least catch the 
last few, but already the series is 
over and you're stuck with Up- 
stairs, Downstairs. 

The reason for this phenome- 
non is time compression. As a re- 
sult, time is passing faster with 
each moment. For example, in 
the time it takes you to read this 
sentence, you have aged six 
months. The universe began 
With a big bang and it will end 
with a big crunch. Soon there 
will be no time left. Everything 



will happen at once. In fact, it 

may be too late already 
ECONOMIC RELAPSE 
It cannot have escaped your no- 
tice that everybody's broke. 
There isn't enough money to 
keep us healthy, fed, clothed, 
and educated. 

Government agencies are 
hard at work figuring out ways to 
allow you to select the necessities 
you want to continue in order 
that the rest may be discontin- 
ued. Would you prefer police or 
fire protection? Food, clothing, or 
shelter? Some have advocated 
turning major American cities in- 
to theme parks, complete with 
sewer tours to see the alligators 
and subway tours to see the trog- 
lodytes — anything to make or 
save a little money. 

As an alternative to the long, 
successful All American Cities 
competition, a new contest to be 
named the Loathsome Bolshevik 
Municipality has been designed 
to help instill pride in the neglect- 
ed residents of Newark, Boston, 
and Detroit. The only thing stand- 
ing in their way is a lack of 
funds. Which leads us to... 
THE GREENBACK EFFECT 
By now you're probably in a 
stale of aggravated anxiety, quak- 
ing in your chair, asking yourself 
questions like "How could it 
have happened?" and "What can 
I do to prevent it?" and "Where 
in the world are my nitroglycerin 



The answer to these problems 
is the same as the answer to any 
other problem: money. We need 
to raise lots of money. With that 
money, we will buy television and 
radio time to spread the word so 
even more people will be aware 
of the problems. And they will 
then send money. 

So do your part: Recycle 
some cash today. DO